3 No Fail Accessories for Styling Your Bookshelf

I get a lot of reader questions in my inbox or through instagram direct messages. I always LOVE your questions, so I while I directly answer the email, I've begun keeping a list of them for blog posts. Today I'm answering a question I get a lot: what are my go-to accessorizing or bookshelf styling items? I'm glad you asked ;) Styling is one of my favorite parts of design, as it's like the finishing touch on any room! 

When I was in design school ( and I still do this today!) I studied images of bookshelves or other styled areas of the home, in magazines or found on Pinterest that I found aesthetically pleasing. What did they all have in common? What was I most drawn to? I would try to dissect the image and then recreate it with items I already had. Studying something you love and find beautiful, then creating your own version is one of the best ways to learn not only what you like, but what works together well design-wise. 

Alright, let's get to it.

1. Books. As you can see below, they can be styled many different ways, even within one bookshelf. They offer height, texture and color, and are a great layering piece. Anytime you have a stack of books, be sure an object sits on top of it to ground it and finish it off! Books are also a great way to take up a lot of area space on a shelf. If the spines don't match, not problem! Turn them so the pages face out. My husband will never understand this, because it's not practical to him (ha!) but it does keep the shelves looks more cohesive, if you're focusing on a specific color story.
Photo: Apartment 34

2. Larger objects that take up visual space. Whether this be a gnarled piece of wood, baskets, a geometric object, vases (I love using these, see below in my bookshelf!) or larger art or framed photos, the bookshelf needs something of substance. One of the biggest mistakes I see with styled is using too many smaller objects that don't make a statement. 
Photo: Curated Interior

3. Plants & smaller accessories. Strategically placing plants and living things, like little arrangements or succulents is a great way to diversify the color green and give the shelves texture. Something fresh on a shelf is always a breath of fresh air among many objects. I also always finish off shelves and bookcases with smaller accessories like candles, little picture frames, and small objects (like I a birds nest I love or my hourglass).
Photo: DIY Playbook

Here's a peek at my bookshelf how it is currently decorated (don't mind the nest thermostat in the background...):

We have books stacked different ways, larger decorative objects (vases, birdcage and basket), a plant (just one right now, which is abnormal for me!) and smaller accessories to fill in (a small picture, copper candle, and candle sticks). You can see our summer bookshelf is really simple, but I think each piece is the appropriate size for the shelf which is so key in creating a pleasing look.

You can totally shop your house to find items to use for your shelfies (haha...this still kills me!) I do this often as I want to change the look up a little. But if you need some new ideas of what to put on your shelves, find a bunch of my go-to items below:

natural wood pillar candle / natural colored baskets / marble and glass terrarium / gold tray / blue vase / cacti / silver sphere / alabaster bookends / ampersand / pink globe / wood carved bowl / white vases / sail boat / gold candle sticks / plant

*For pretty "coffee table books" I get them here at Anthropologie, or get inspiration there, then order on Amazon if it's a better price! All my other books that aren't pretty or the spines don't match, I turn those so the pages face out. Anthropologie did it in a display years ago, so they made it okay ;)

And before I sign off for the day, I should give you some basic styling principles:

- We see things as most pleasing when grouped in odd numbers, specific sets of 3. 
- Try to maintain a cohesive color palette in your styling.
- Keep with the correct proportions of your shelf (a huge item on a tiny shelf will dwarf the shelf even more),
- Use balance in styling. This means that there should be equal visual weight on all parts of the shelf. It doesn't need to be symmetrical, but it should be balanced. For example, the horizontal books on the top left have the same visual weight as the books stacked vertically with the marble frame on top, to the right. They're not the same objects, but they are equal in visual weight, which makes the bookshelf feel balanced.
- Avoid styling things by height (in descending or ascending order). Instead, try to mix up the height of things to keep it interesting.

What are some of your favorite items to use when styling a bookcase?

Happy Thursday!

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Fashion: Blush Summer to Fall Dress & Jacket

What a whirlwind the past week has been! After helping plan, decorate and coordinate my friend's wedding on Saturday, I think I have what you call a "wedding hangover". I'm still exhausted and trying to get caught up on lots of things, but it was such a joyful day!! That would be the reason for the crickets here on the blog.

Not sure about where you live, but the last few days have certainly felt like the start of Fall here in Michigan. I do love Fall, don't get me wrong, but what comes after makes me nervous (read: snow). So seeing summer come to a close is sad for me! Luckily, I love the clothing change that comes with Autumn. 

A few weeks ago I headed over to Lee & Birch, a local Grand Rapids boutique, with my friend Rachel to get a preview of their fall items (all so cute!), so of course I tried a couple of outfits on. The stylists helped me choose some looks and put together jewelry and everything! It was so fun to get all dressed up. Hopefully these looks give you some fall outfit inspiration!

This pink dress had me at hello-- 1. because it is pink with lavender flowers (remind you of something?!) and 2. because I can easily wear it in the summer, then transition to fall with booties and a jacket.

Photos: Rayanne Barker

DETAILSdress / similar jacket / sandals 

Lee & Birch is hosting a fall fashion show, Runway Off Wealthy, in partnership with our local West Elm store, who will be providing the VIP seating lounge (so fun!). The whole event is meant to inspire you for fall, but mostly to raise money and awareness for an amazing charity called Kids Food Basket. I'm super excited to attend and report back here with a recap of the fashion show! Let me know if you're local and will be attending. Would love to meet you there! Get your tickets HERE.

PS. Get 20% off your purchase with Lee & Birch with the code ROW20.

Happy Tuesday!
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The Short List No. 5

Hey friends! I'm back today with a new edition of The Short List. This is always such a fun post to write because I get to hear from YOU as well. Be sure to leave a comment below with a few answers to the prompts! 

What We're Watching: I'm so excited that This is Us comes back on in just a little over a month!! (9.26 is the season premiere!) Currently I am into the new season of both Project Runway (this will always be a favorite of mine) and So You Think You Can Dance. I'm always amazed by those dancers!!

What I'm Loving: 

1. Our friends are getting married on Saturday! We're SO excited for them and I can't wait to attend this wedding, as it'll be our first together since being married. Weddings are my favorite. I am also the wedding planner, so it should be a busy wedding, but fun nonetheless! I'm doing the flowers today, too, and can't wait to get my hands on the pretty blooms. I'll share some peeks on Instagram. We're doing budvases on the tables to save money! Praying for some beautiful weather this weekend for the sweet couple.

2. Our wedding anniversary is coming up in a month! We're going to the beautiful Walloon Lake to celebrate with a weekend away. 

3. SUMMER! Never want it to end. I'm in denial that we could have snow in 2 months. Or sooner...it IS Michigan. Ugh!

4. Starbucks' Strawberry Acai Refresher. I have to stop myself from getting one of these every.single.day. Try it with lemonade instead of water sometime...so good!

6. The adorable fall items coming to The Mason Jar Boutique. Oh my...I don't want summer to end, but these clothes make the inevitable fall season a little less sad! Use the code BLOOM15 for 15% off your purchase.

7. This off the shoulder striped dress!! And the prices at the Loft are insane right now. 75% off these items.

What We're Eating: We've been making such easy dinners lately. I just marinade some chicken or steak and then my husband grills it and we serve it with a spinach salad or veggie + rice or potatoes. Easy and delish! I'm also planning to make my peach cobbler recipe soon, as it's a favorite summer dessert. I'll share the recipe shortly!

We've also been making green smoothies. Recipe: spinach, OJ, banana, strawberries, yogurt, crushed flax seeds, ice. 

What's on My Desk:  I've been really busy lately with client designs! This one is for a virtual design client who lives in the Bay Area. I was able to visit their home a few weeks ago when I was in town and showed the current kitchen on Instagram. In case you missed it, here's a peek:

And here is the inspiration board I created to hone in on the feeling we want for the newly remodeled kitchen. I can't wait to see this one come together, as it has everything I love in a kitchen!

Looking Forward to: Our Bloom workshop in September here in Michigan! There's one ticket left and I can't wait to meet everyone. The workshop is ALL about styled shoots. More details here! The venue is STUNNING, you guys. See?!

What We're Reading: I'm finishing up the Magnolia Story!

What Lincoln is up to: I had to add a section for him on here, so if you're interested in the pup, you can follow along in his growth! He weighed 16lbs at the vet last week, so he's officially double the weight he was when he came home to us. Crazy! He knows how to sit, shake paws, lay down, stay (pretty well), drop a toy on command and during fetch. He is still in the puppy biting stage, but he also lost 3 teeth this week so hopefully that's on its way out! He is the sweetest boy in the morning when he wakes up and cuddles with me in bed for a few minutes before starting the day with some play time. He goes to puppy class once a week and we take him to the dog park to play with friends a few times a week as well. His eyes are a light green color, which I love! I think they'll stay that way for good now. 

Day we got him:

NOW: (sneak peek of some anniversary + puppy photos!)

He has a few nicknames: Link, Lincoln Lou, Puppers, Mr. Buddy, Buddy Bear...that's about it ;)

Clearly I adore him, as you might see a lot of instagram stories featuring him. #Sorry!
That's my short list! Answer some of these in the comments so I can get to know you better :)

Thanks for reading!
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Dorm & Apartment Essentials

In case you missed it, last week I rounded up some fun back-to-school supplies and must-haves. And honestly, even if you're not going back to school, there are some great desk supplies in there for my fellow girl bosses. 

I'll always remember how fun it was to shop for and put together my first dorm room. You can see it here, but no judgement allowed ;) My roommate and I worked so hard on that purple room. Then I had even more fun getting things for the apartments and houses I lived in, because there was more room to decorate and it felt more like a home. Today I'm sharing a few things I would put in my dorm or apartment if I could go back! 

DETAILSround storage ottoman / storage baskets / wood lamp base / milk glass and gold lamp base / gray duvet cover / striped duvet cover / cozy throw / banana leaf pillow / navy velvet pillow / floral pillow / sheepskin rug / tacos doormat / gold desk lamp / metallic tray / mint keurig / pineapple pen holder / nate berkus file folders / desk tufted chair / goals notebook / gold wall organization kit  / clover mirrors /

In a small space, storage and organization is key, so baskets, ottomans with hidden storage and trays for catch-all items are super important. Typically dorms and or first apartments are also very basic. My dorm room was a tiny, tiny little box with a sink, mirror and closet. It was nice and clean, but so boring! So we did anything we could to brighten things up and add some color, pattern, and texture. If I could go back, I'd do it completely differently now, but at the time I remember loving what we did. 

My biggest advice is to make the space feel homey and warm; a place you want to retreat to every day. You can do this by getting a cozy duvet, textured pillows, a nice throw blanket, some lighting that offers warmth to the space, a coffee maker (or a tea kettle in my case!), and adding lots of personal touches. 

If you're heading back to college or moving into a new small apartment, I hope these items help get your wheels turning! 


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Save vs. Splurge

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! On Saturday we cleaned our apartment (needed it so bad!), took Lincoln to the dog park, where he met another Lincoln doggy, and then we went on a date to mini golf. It was such a fun day! Sunday was spent at church, getting our pup a new collar since he grew out of the current one, going to our nephew's birthday party, the dog park again, then catching up on work before the work week starts again.

You might know that I love a good price on clothing and home decor (sales always get me!), so I thought it'd be fun to hunt down similar items at different price points. Save vs. Splurge is back today with some great items- a simple and sweet t-shirt, distressed denim, and some beautiful finds for the home, too. There are definitely places to invest and go for the more pricey item -- for me, that's good denim! -- and I'm not saying it's bad to shop more expensive stores or anything, it's just also cool to see that you can get similar looks for less. Hope you like it!

twist tie t-shirt: save / splurge * The cheaper version actually got better reviews!
distressed denim: save / splurge
leather tote: save / splurge * Great for back to school or a work bag
marble coffee table: save / splurge 
marble cookbook stand: save / splurge * The "save" version is on my wish list!
moroccan pouf: save / splurge
I can't believe the price difference on the leather bag and the poufs!

Are you like me, and love hunting down good deals?! You should see me when I see a red sale sign or tag...my husband always reminds me "you're still spending money if you buy something on sale." And I usually reply "well, less money than I would have!" ;)

Happy Monday!
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Friday Finds

Hi friends! Thank you SO much for your kind feedback and messages about the kitchen client reveal I showed you on Wednesday. It means the world to me when you leave a comment or email me with sweet words. 
Well, it's Friday and I'm sharing some favorite finds with you today, all of which are on sale!
1. Anthropologie: 30% off sale items!

2. LOFT: 60% off sale styles (no code)

+ 50% off select styles with code SUMMER50

3. Aerie is having a sweatshirts & leggings sale. I love this hoodie! These leggings are really fun, too.

4. Pottery Barn: 20% off one regularly priced item, including furniture. Code: SAVE20

5. World Market: All living room furniture is on sale!
Hope you all enjoy your weekend! Praying for some sunshine here, as it's been quite gray and rainy this week.
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Back To School Essentials

About a week ago I started see my mommy friends posting on Instagram and Facebook about the first day of school. I was in shock! How could it be school time yet?! It seems like summer just got started. 

Growing up in my house we always did some back-to-school shopping, which helped me get more keen of the idea of school actually starting. I've never been a school person, so incentives were always good ;) My mom would let us pick out a first day of school outfit, along with some new supplies or must-haves for the new season ahead. When I was in college, I did this for myself as well! So I thought I'd round up some favorite items I would be getting myself if I was heading back to school. 

marble water bottle / mint water bottle / floral planner (august through december 2018) / planner (17 month also) / choose joy pencil pouch / colorful pens / kate spade pencil pouch / leather tote bag / stripe reversible bag / lip gloss / lip stick / tocca lotion / donut key chain / leather key chain  / cultivate what matters stickers for planner

My stand out items:

- My favorite lipgloss on the planet. I always have this with me. It's a little minty, goes on pretty clear but is so moisturizing! Nothing is worse than dry lips with no good lipgloss in sight! ;)
- The floral Kate Spade planner. I have been loyal to KS planners over the last few years because of their lines, boxes you get to check off, etc. I love this floral print!!

- The colorful pens for your planner. After my month of no spending, I'm going to invest in these pens and try using one color per category or activity so my planner is more organized (I'm like Monica from friends, guys.)

- You might think this is crazy, but I haven't owned or used a back pack since middle school. Even come high school, I used a tote bag! To this day, when I camp out in coffee shops for the day, my leather tote is my best friend. This one caught my eye cause of the wallet pouch inside!

- Ever since my husband has had a S'well water bottle, he's drank so much more water (and hasn't lost the bottle-- winning!) It keeps your drink cold for 24 hours or hot for 12, so I'd definitely be getting myself one of those if I were heading back to school. I drink water ALL DAY LONG and always prefer cold water (with a lemon)!

What's on your back to school list? Next week I'll round up some back to school items for your dorm or apartment!


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Client Kitchen Reveal

Thanks for all your kind comments last week on the client living room I posted. It was such a joy to work with the homeowners on their house! Today I'm sharing the kitchen reveal, which again has a crazy before and after. This particular client hired me before any work was done, but after she had already pinned and dreamed up her dream kitchen, so it was fun to help her bring the vision to life. Like I mentioned last week, this client of mine is one of my favorites and has a special place in my heart. Not only is she extremely kind and warm, she's also very creative, stylish and knows what she likes. I love working with people like her! 

She had been dreaming of a clean, bright, white kitchen but with some contrast in the island. I love how it came together. Like me, the homeowners loved the idea of mixing metals, so we pulled in tones of gold and silver (and copper, in that pretty pot below!) I also love that we decided on the classic shape of the subway tile, but spiced it up with a color other than white. Other major changes are seen in the larger kitchen sink window, cabinets to the ceiling (which makes the ceilings looks SO much taller!), flooring throughout, the gorgeous island, beautiful quartz countertops, lighting and well...everything else ;) 

Take a look at the BEFORE below:

This is the story of a basic builder home that was loved on for years by a family of 7 and taken care of by one amazing mom. My sweet, deserving client finally got her dream kitchen and I couldn't be more happy for her and her family! 

Here's the AFTER:

I still remember finding this tile in the showroom and looking at each other, knowing it was the one! It has such a pretty glaze finish and adds the right amount of contrast between the backsplash and the creamy white cabinets. 

Unfortunately, this greige backsplash tile is no longer made, but it was from Virginia Tile. You can find something similar by searching for "greige handmade subway tile".


My client decided on the arch hood and I couldn't love it more. I suggested we echo that arch by creating a focal wall behind the stove with some marble tile. We both agreed this was such a show stopper in the design!

We made sure the colors in the marble pulled out other tones from the kitchen. Lots of the creamy gold tones are also found in the quartz countertop to pull it all together.

The island is a rich walnut finish, accented with unique gold and mother of pearl knobs. This walnut color was begging to be paired with a warm gold tone.

Paint: Revere Pewter / Cabinets: Starlite (white: Fieldstone, walnut: Mouser) / Countertops: Viatera Soprano Quartz / Pendants / Gold Mother of Pearl Knobs / Copper Pot / Similar Counter Stool
Hope you enjoyed the kitchen reveal and tour!
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Fashion Show in Grand Rapids + Fall Outfit Inspiration

I'm really looking forward to an upcoming event here in Grand Rapids, MI and I hope to meet some of you there, so I'm tellin' you all the details today! A local boutique called Lee & Birch is hosting a fall fashion show, Runway Off Wealthy, in partnership with our local West Elm store, who will be providing the VIP seating lounge (so fun!). The whole event is meant to inspire you for fall, but mostly to raise money and awareness for an amazing charity called Kids Food Basket.

You can get your ticket HERE! If you attend, let me know so I can say hello :)

I headed over to Lee & Birch to get a preview of their fall items (all so cute!), so of course I tried a couple of outfits on. The stylists helped me choose some looks and put together jewelry and everything. I've never been so put together ;) Hopefully these looks give you some fall outfit inspiration!

This black dress was so soft and the bell sleeve was right on trend. You could easily transition this into winter by adding tights or leggings and booties.

Now for the below pink jacket...this is not something I'd ever pick out or try on by myself, but the girls in the store chose it, so I went with it. I ended up loving it! It's so feminine and adds some personality and color to the look.

These layered necklaces are all over the place right now and I'm not mad about it. I love how they look so effortless and put together!

The second look was a pair of vegan leather leggings (try wearing these on an 80 degree day with humidity...) with a casual white tee & another bomber jacket. I love how the green jacket dresses it up a little! These leather leggings would be great for winter; they're super insulated. I'm definitely going to add thick leggings to my winter wish list!

Again with the cool layered necklace look. So fun!
Photos by Rayanne Barker 

Head into Lee & Birch on Wealthy Street to grab any of these pieces. Or you can browse the website! Use the code ROW20 for 20% off your purchase :)

Hope to see you at the runway show on September 14th! 

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