Whether your favorite party host is your mom, grandmother, a new neighbor, your aunt or your virtual BFF, it can be tricky to shop for the lady who has it all. And she’s the first one you want to treat because she brings your world together on the holidays – social distancing or otherwise. I’ve put together this list of gift ideas for your favorite hostess to treat her or yourself this year. Skip the lines at your local Home Goods and TJ Maxx and shop here for over 10 awesome host gift ideas (ranging from $16-$140)!
For any given category of home items, there’s SO many different ways to organize any given one. If you took my recent Decluttering Personality Type Quiz, I’ve received feedback that just taking it has inspired decluttering projects. As a type 3, I’m a closet connoisseur of organization inspo of all kinds. So in wanting to share some visually stunning organization ideas with you, I went to search the entirety of my Pinterest boards, and had pages and pages of options. From there, I selected my top 10 favorites that I felt were 1) beautiful, 2) practical, and 3) repeatable. And spoiler alert, most of them were created by fellow designers and professional organizers. So if you’re all amped up to tackle a closet or a whole room this weekend, here’s my 10 BEST designer inspired organization ideas for your viewing pleasure!
So my very first blog post “Where to Shop Budget Home Essentials” is definitely one of my most referenced articles on this whole site. This is probably because it’s SO on-brand for what I do for people. The process goes a little something like this… 1) I need something for my house or a client project. 2) I end up shopping between 2-7 different stores and give myself a total headache until I find something that I’m satisfied with the price and quality. 3) I share where I found said “thing” and why you should shop for similar items there. 4) You benefit from my picky and budget-friendly ways. So I thought I’d put together a similar list for the holidays for you, because if there’s any time of year you’d like to save a little money to use elsewhere, it’s now! Back by popular “demand”, I present the Budget Home Essentials – Holiday Edition list!
Happy Labor Day Weekend, friends! I hope you are spending some time safely with those closest to you, relaxing and savoring the extra time off. If you’re like me and you’re hitting any of the Labor Day sales at furniture/decor stores this weekend, I have a few quick tips for holiday weekend shopping & some info on the Diderot Effect.
#Outdoorliving is a big trend right now, especially with the coronavirus prompting us to stay home a bit more in 2020. Summer in Florida can be a bit debatable with “feels like” temperatures encroaching 100+ degrees and frequent thunderstorms. But we’re incredibly lucky in this state to have affordable property prices and a climate that welcomes indoor/outdoor living year round. While you might not be ready for an extreme landscape renovation, or starting over with new outdoor furniture, this is the year you’ll want to enjoy it. So I’m here to meet you in the middle! I’m going to share over 25 ideas to step up your outdoor living game without starting from scratch.
CAUTION: If you live with a partner, roommate or spouse, please prepare them that this article and the images presented may trigger those prone to DIY makeover projects. Side effects include: Amazon packages you are unable lift on your own, finding something new to paint every weekend for a month, and finding any excuse to host a barbecue. Please consider this fair warning before continuing to read the 25 ideas to step up your outdoor living game.
Tip #1: Simplify Your Outdoor Color Palette
A lot of people don’t treat their outdoor living space with the same rules as the indoors – and that’s okay. You may not have spent as much time researching the furniture, artwork, lighting, etc. as you would for your interior. Throughout this article I’m sharing multiple ideas to address and improve the overall design of your outdoor space. Let’s start with color since that is one of the quickest ways to step up your style game!
When you walk into a new home, you’re surrounded usually by light, neutral walls on 3-4 sides of you. Next, you move in and carefully add furniture and decor to color your space. When you go outside, your “blank canvas” is usually hardly blank at all. You may have beautiful trees, colorful botanicals, a bright aqua pool, kelly green grass, and some blue sky! What’s not to LOVE about that? I find that the trend now for outdoor living is to further emphasize the natural colors occurring in your outdoor space.
A great way to embrace this trend is to create contrast by limiting added color from the furniture and decor items. But this doesn’t mean your decor needs to be bland and boring! This can mean picking a monochromatic accent color like the blue table scheme above. Or this can mean playing more with pattern and texture in a neutral color palette like the example below.
By selecting a small, cohesive palette, you allow your space to feel balanced with nature. Once you have a color palette in mind, I recommend removing or repainting anything that doesn’t fall in with this plan. Secondly, you might want to pick up a can or two of outdoor spray paint here to try to give new life to some of your old pieces. A simplified color palette is such a timeless trend in general, and you’ll see this exemplified in many other outdoor idea photos shared throughout this article.
Tip #2: Create a Space Plan
If you’re reading this, like me, you’ve probably watched your fair share of HGTV in the past. So if you have a large backyard space, treat it like your fave designers would with a giant room. Create zones!
My mind instantly wants to visualize your backyard space as if it could host a party at a moment’s notice. This is typically when people are thinking of new ideas for their outdoor living look and feel. What areas would you want to create for a party? How many people would you typically host?
I love this example above from Studio McGee where they’ve created a small dining area and a good-sized conversation zone surrounding an outdoor fireplace. The sleek, modern furniture in muted tones lets the green, natural elements pop because it creates contrast.
If you have the space for it, I would start with a dining table, outdoor group conversation area, and one separate small conversation area. Space them out in a way that you can picture people moving through the space at a party. Play up your focal points and make sure all seating is actually comfortable and practical for the space.
Then make sure some of these things meet what your family could use day to day. Would you read outside more if you had a beautiful shaded pergola ($600)? Do you like to grill out on the weekends? (Lots of grilling products linked in my recent Father’s Day Gift Guide) Would you invite a friend over to hang by the pool with a glass of rosé if you had a set of chic loungers?
Tip #3: Make Room for Play
In the spirit of parties, I’m a huge fan of having games or an activity for guests. While you probably don’t want your whole yard to look like a game room, adding 1-2 can create engaging moments for family or party time. A game or activity is also a chance to express your family’s personality or traditions.
A swimming pool certainly counts for this, as would a fire pit ($76). Maybe you consider investing in a slide ($$$) addition to your pool or create a new seating area (new Adirondack folding chairs $75) around the firepit? A dartboard ($18) is a classic game that only requires an open wall and decent lighting. Some other game ideas are a DIY shuffleboard kit ($50), a giant set of chess ($359), cornhole ($56) or oversized Jenga-style blocks ($55). You may notice I chose options that are not colorful so you have the option to paint so it can be in your designated palette. 🙂
Inflatable outdoor movie screens ($160) are also an awesome option to use for kid sleepover parties, holiday parties, or family campouts in your backyard.
Tip #4: Utilize Repetition
One of my favorite design elements to make a big impact on a space at any budget level is repetition. This is because you’re not necessarily having to spend a lot of money on ONE big decor piece. I saw this outdoor space get made over on the new Genevieve Gorder show on Netflix “Stay Here” and I’m obsessed with the terra cotta cactus wall! As a seasoned designer, Genevieve also played with repetition with the stripe pattern fabrics and the plants along the walkway.
You can recreate a similar look with a set of same-size terra cotta pots like these and plants from your local home improvement store. You can also grab a set of these 48 ft solar string lights ($60) and a striped teak lounge chair with attached side table ($343 each) inspired by this space as well.
Tip #5: Take Greenery to the Walls
Living green walls are a newer trend making waves in 2020 that I’m seeing pop up in luxury hotel lobbies, new bars and restaurants, and design publications. So why not turn your back patio into the new neighborhood hot spot and create your own green wall? You could do this many ways with a wall herb garden planter ($15), a vine trellis/plant box combo ($70), or creating your own decorative planter.
The key is to treat the plants as the artwork itself. In my professional opinion, those metal decorative outdoor wall pieces are out and green walls are in.
Tip #6: Create an Outdoor Dining Space
I think there’s something special about having an outdoor dining setup that is ready within minutes of a beautiful weather meal moment. For some, an outdoor dining set might be the first thing you think of for outdoor living, but if it’s not, let me tell you, it’s awesome.
You know those moments when you find yourself at the host stand of a restaurant and they ask if you’d like to sit outside and everything in you says YES? You might not wake up that day thinking anything of the weather, but when it’s nice out, it’s a no-brainer. If you have the space and the means to create this kind of experience in your backyard, I hope you do! All you really need is an outdoor table, outdoor chairs, and some good lighting. When the weather is nice, you can wipe the table down and serve!
If your style is a little more extra, then you can create a beautiful table setting like the example above, and store the table cloth, chargers, and centerpieces in one box for quick access. So say hello to fast outdoor dining in style!
Tip #7: Address the Climate
Another trick that you can steal from restaurants is to add a level of climate control to your outdoor spaces by adding a ceiling fan ($109), shading umbrella ($86) or a standing heater ($165) as needed. You’d be surprised how additions like these seem to extend the life of your outdoor space because of their impact on the overall temperature.
Tip #8: Create Ambience with Lighting
Outdoor lighting creates a very inviting atmosphere for your family and guests – and there’s so much new you can do with it! One idea is to update your outdoor fixtures to something more modern like the example above which shows off these beautiful planters at night. You can use 48 ft solar string lights ($60) like these above your pool or dining area. You can also find solar accent lights ($37 for set of 2) for your garden or living green wall areas. And who doesn’t love some rainbow solar pool lights ($32 for set of 2) to add a little whimsy? Solar powered lights and outdoor living go together like PB&J because they’re earth-conscious and typically low maintenance.
Tip #9: Consider Adding Color or Pattern to the Floor
While outdoor rugs are a nice addition to create zones in your outdoor space and add a pop of color or pattern, many of them don’t hold up a long time. Whether this has to do more with maintenance or style, I’m noticing an increase in painted/patterned tiles and pavers. These examples should stand the test of time a bit longer than a rug if you are in an area with a lot of rain/humidity like Florida.
You can easily update your existing outdoor tile or stones with a Mediterranean inspired stencil ($21) or star tile stencil ($24) or many other various pattern and size options. A little DIY time here can go a long way to stepping up your outdoor game because it adds unlimited style for the cost of paint and a stencil. No pun intended! 🙂
Tip #10: Create a Feature Focal Point
Much like a beautiful fireplace in a living room, your outdoor area will feel more designed if it has a focal point. A focal point is something that the eye is first drawn to when viewing a space. It could even BE an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. The focal point is often at the center view or it can be the biggest/tallest/widest thing in your landscaping. You may already one, and if so, it can be fun to play it up. I love how the example below takes an outdoor fire pit to the next level with a hexagon of swings. And Pinterest makes everything look so easy!
The focal point could be the beautiful view itself, so the best way to play that up is to create seating areas that frame and provide opportunities for your family or guests to enjoy it. It’s also typically a good photo taking space.
You can also create your own focal point with a few modern pieces that express your style placed in a key area. Love the rattan sofa and bold egg chair for this purpose! You know your guests are going to want to snap their Instagram pictures here!
Oh my gosh, this feels like one of my longest articles yet. There’s just SO much you can do to extend your living space outside. Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to completely start from scratch and redo your space. The idea is to assess your own space and take even just one or two of my 25 ideas or tips to implement and really step up your outdoor living game.
Let me know in the comments which ideas were your favorites. And be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see your finished projects!
About Kaitlyn Loos
Kaitlyn Loos [loh-s] is a virtual e-designer for interiors and organizing. She helps busy moms with young families create dreamy spaces that function for their unique needs. She notably developed the Decluttering Personality Type quiz which has helped hundreds of people break down mental barriers about clutter. Kaitlyn loves to collaborate with clients to bring modern, fresh, and color-savvy design into their homes. Kaitlyn Loos Design delivers style for nearly any investment level. She also enjoys sharing her ideas and projects through her blog and discussing hot design topics on Instagram live.
Kaitlyn is located in the west-central Florida area (Tampa, Ocala, Gainesville, and everywhere in between) with availability for select in-person projects for 2021.
Disclaimer: a small percentage of purchases from select links will benefit me via an affiliate program. I appreciate anyone who wants to support my blog by shopping the products, but there is no obligation to buy.
It’s almost that back to school time of year! And this is another topic on my blog post bucket list I’m so excited to do. College bound this summer or fall? Those weeks before leaving for college are so fun to prepare ideas for your space! I’ve got 40 decor ideas to transform your dorm room. You’ll never want to leave campus again!
For me, my college years were some of the best of my life. As someone who spent the majority of my time in college living in dorm rooms, I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. It’s such a great time for fresh high school graduates to get a taste of freedom and personalize a new space of their own. However, it’s so easy to go overboard and buy things that are gimmicky or just won’t work.
But I’ve got a ton of ideas from my personal experience that you can steal from my book! This is not just a list of cute decor items; this is how you take your space to the next level.
Tip #1: Create a Stylish, Cozy Corner
Dorm rooms are often equipped with classroom-style florescent lighting, blah furniture, and minimal storage. So the fastest way to add a splash of personality is to bring in elements to intentionally warm up the space to feel more like a home. And what’s more homey than a cozy reading corner?
The image here show here shows multiple tactics you can borrow to make a small, corner space feel inviting. Create a similar space with these products.
A comfortable, stylish chair adds instant style and creates an inviting space for reading or guests. A lot of times, popular college shopping stores like Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond will have chairs in the back-to-school section that are often cheap or uncomfortable. My recommendation is to avoid these and get something that you’ll totally enjoy for years.
You can top your adorable new chair with a fun throw pillow, like this geometric gold velvet one.
A floor lamp virtually dissolves the need to have bright florescent lights on which creates a more zen vibe for you and your roommate. This is another area where you can shop the main home section!
Be sure to order low energy LED bulbs in a warm white color to help combat the cool tones and make your space feel cozy.
Rugs add color, texture, and warmth to cold dorm room floors. Look for flat weave, washable rugs that can handle college life in “high traffic” areas.
Tip #2: Make Your Bed a Sanctuary
Dorm room mattresses are probably nothing like what you’re used to at home, being much thinner and firmer. So you may want to order an XL twin memory foam topper. The one below comes in different sizes, depending on how soft you want to make your bed.
A down alternative duvet and duvet cover can also add to the cloud-like bed vibe. Look for duvet covers and inserts that are both machine washable and dryer friendly so that you can wash them every few weeks.
The other thing to take into consideration is that some dorm rooms might not allow you to control the temperature. It’s often colder than you’re used to! In that case, it’s great to layer up your bedding with a super soft throw blanket. I love these three options to add a pop of color/pattern for this white bedding scheme.
While the inspiration bed image is beautiful, it’s really not that practical to have five or more pillows on an XL twin size bed. (They’ll be piled on the floor quicker than you know!) I recommend getting one pillow to sleep on, one to go in the matching sham, and one accent pillow. Below are some ideas for those.
Tip #3: Create a Custom Plan for Clutter
Clutter in dorm rooms is really public enemy #1. But I’m not just your mom telling you to keep your room clean! I’m the type of person who believes that orderliness can come to most if you have a strategy. If you come into it thinking it’s not going to get messy, that’s like going to a water park and forgetting a bathing suit! It’s just going to happen.
And it totally sucks if you’re like I was and you spend money and time decorating your dorm room and it hardly looks tidy. It’s a smaller space, plain and simple! You’re often sharing the room that may also be your kitchen and bathroom, all in one. It’s inevitable that it will look more cluttered than your bedroom at home. The trick is to take the time to create a plan to minimize the look of your clutter.
Don’t just push your cart down an aisle at Target or IKEA grabbing every organizer product you can find. I challenge you to really think about this and create a custom solution.
Do you have a humongous collection of hair or beauty products? Does your desk tend to get cluttered? Do you have an overflowing closet? A coffee addiction with lots of machine accessories and an abundance of flavors? Do you have more books than one person could read in a lifetime? I’m no Marie Kondo, though I do know there’s a lot of value in decluttering your stuff before you move. However, I believe you can have the things you love in excess if you have a smart storage strategy. A few ideas below!
If You Keep A Lot on Your Desk
If You Have a Lot of Beauty Products
If You Have a Big Closet
Use behind the door racks to contain the overflow of heavy coats, scarves, and handbags. Think of every behind-the-door space as an opportunity to store items from your closet!
Tip #4: Your Stuff is Now Your Primary Decor
When you’re in college, pretty much everything in your dorm room should serve a purpose. So I’m really big on the idea of making everything you NEED look like decor. Or sourcing things you need that look good to you stylistically. Some ideas below.
When I went to school, I had a bookshelf from home that followed me to every dorm room. A tall bookshelf can be extremely helpful with organizing your new space. And whenever you can arrange something in a systematic or styled way, like the bookshelf examples here, it looks less cluttered.
Your costume jewelry can be a part of the decor parade and save you valuable surface or drawer space. Just make sure you hang the driftwood pieces from a command hook and NOT a nail in the wall.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, bringing in your own lighting is a key decor element to transform your dorm room. Instead of standard desk lamp, why not get a cute table lamp like the owl above? Get something that works AND makes you happy to look at it!
Tip #5: Go Crazy with Wall Art
Just because you can’t put holes in the walls, doesn’t mean you can’t transform your walls with decor. The walls will be the first expression of your space, so take time sourcing the items that will communicate your vibe. Some ideas below.
If I had to go back to college today, I would be doing a washi tape gallery wall for sure! It comes in so many patterns but it’s about as sticky as painter’s tape, so that means it usually won’t destroy walls. You can print your own photos, quotes or use favorite cards and notes from your friends. And you can get a huge pack of washi tape in a variety of patterns that will last you all four years. A few options I found on Amazon below.
While I am NOT the first person to suggest fairy lights in a dorm room, I want to suggest an accent wall of lights. I love how this example uses super long strands of fairy lights ($14) with photos clipped on. Mini pack of 50 craft clips ($5). Be sure to use mini command hooks for hanging and arranging so that you don’t damage the walls.
You can make your own ethereal, boho art piece with a branch, string, and florals from the Dollar Tree or Michael’s. Just be sure to hang from a command hook. Oh and leave your cat at home! 🙂
Tip #6: Decorate with Plants
Real plants, if you can take care of them, are awesome in a dorm because they look great and really bring the essence of home. Some of them may even clean the air a bit for you! Just to be sure to read up on their care instructions and find places where they can live that don’t cut into your valuable desk or dresser surface space.
While it’s best to purchase plants from your local grocery or home improvement store, you can order cute plant stands or pots online to up your style game.
Hanging planters are a great way to bring the look of live plants to your space without taking up surface space. Lightweight ones like these should be able to hang from a command hook as long as the total weight doesn’t exceed three pounds. I can’t get over how cute these are!
Tip #7: Consider Going EXTRA with Home-y Touches
Without decor, dorm rooms really aren’t that different from the vibe of sitting in a hospital. This is why no one will fault you for taking the cozy home accents a little over the top!
I love the idea of bringing in a faux sheepskin rug to be the first thing your feet will feel in the morning. You can also use to soften up a chair like the example below.
Usually dorm rooms are pretty good about having blinds or some way to block light, so curtains are totally in the “extra” zone. I had a bay window in my first RA room in a building that was over a hundred years old. The future designer in me could NOT resist dressing up that space with beautiful sheer curtains. You can accomplish the same with a set of cute sheer curtains and a tension rod like you would use for a shower curtain!
Tip #8: Consider Repurposing Items from Your Home
The set of chairs in my floor plan drawing were created by picking up some used chairs from Craigslist and reupholstering in a funky fabric. I kept those chairs for nine years because I loved them so much! It was so cool to transform something that could’ve easily gone to the dump. If your family has offered you some old lamps, chairs, mirrors, etc. don’t be so quick to turn them down! Nowadays you can find upcycled DIYs for all sorts of things on Pinterest. The sky is the limit for these type of projects, and why not try it out?
Oh my goodness, this was a lot but SO much fun to put together. I’ve been even unintentionally listening to some of my college music favorites on Pandora as I worked on this. I hope you enjoyed these 40 (or more) decor ideas to transform your dorm room!
If you try any of these ideas, please be sure to tag me on Instagram as I’d love to see it! @kaitlynloosdesign
Moving into an apartment or renting a new house? I have lots more interior design inspiration and budget design recommendations under the Interior Design section of this blog. Lots more ideas where this came from!
About Kaitlyn Loos
Kaitlyn Loos [loh-s] is one of the newest designers for interiors and events in the Tampa, Ocala, and Gainesville area. She brings over seven years of graphic design, project management, and event planning experience to create amazing spaces and experiences for her clients. She is one of the only interior design companies in her area who offers modern, fresh, pattern and color-savvy designs. From styling an event to designing an entire home, Kaitlyn Loos Design is a full service company that delivers style for nearly any investment level. She also enjoys sharing her ideas and projects through her new blog which reaches over 325 people monthly.
Disclaimer: a small percentage of purchases from select links will benefit me via an affiliate program. I appreciate anyone who wants to support my blog by shopping the products, but there is no obligation to buy.
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