Office Space

I’ve been keeping a not so little secret.  I teased it earlier this week but it’s time to confess: we revamped our office… in January.  Jefe had been working from home a lot and apparently had been really discontent with the state of our office.  So on MLK weekend, he sprung on me that he wanted to redo the office.  I hadn’t even gotten to finish the plans I had for the office and we were already redoing it!  Luckily what he wanted was in line with the overall plan I had for the space.  But with all that said, we spent our holiday off work driving all the way to Torrance for a coveted desk we had to have…

As a little refresher, here’s what we were looking at last fall:

New Office Mood Board- Nov 2014

New Office Mood Board- Nov 2014

And thanks to Jefe’s impromptu redecorating request, here’s what we’re looking at:

Updated Office Plan

We had already purchased the rug from Pottery Barn over Christmas thanks to their annual sale and that desk is the major purchase from our day of impromptu shopping.  It required contacting no less than 5 local World Markets to find the one we really wanted (the floor model we saw was just too wobbly and beat up to consider taking it home).  So we drove the 45 minutes to Torrance and got the only one left in the greater Los Angeles area.

During the redecorating discussions I also convinced Jefe to examine and remedy our currently too-short cord situation so that we can shift over the Expedit with the TV to accommodate an armchair by the window and floor lamp; his girlfriend needs a reading nook!  While at World Market we spotted this chair and I’m pretty anxious to add it to the soon-to-be vacated corner.

Charcoal Oscar ChairNow, let’s talk desk chairs.  The day we went shopping, after we had secured the desk, we made a quick stop at Target.  Much to our surprise they had a gorgeous grey linen dining chair with nailhead trim for $85.  DONE.  I was stoked to find something so beautiful within our price range.  I thought it was too good to be true.

Target Camelot Nailhead Dining Chair

 Fast forward two months and our desk is going strong (minus a small nick that I’ll cover DIY solutions for in another post) but our desk chair, not so much.  Apparently you get what you pay for:

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair 3

Busted - Target Nailhead Dining Chair 2

Neither of us have any idea how or when that happened.  Needless to say I insisted on returning it.  Jefe was skeptical as it had been two months and he didn’t have his original receipt.  But I insisted.  One quick trip to Target later and we had our $85 back.  Lesson: never doubt the Target return policy… but be weary of their furniture!

As the chair was DEFINITELY an impulse buy, we hadn’t checked the reviews, which turns out, are quite mixed.  So I did a little digging and after some inspiration from Ellen’s Design Challenge, I decided to give Wayfair a try.

We really had liked the look of the nailhead chair but also knew it had to be sturdier than the Target version, have a slightly larger seat (as the one we returned was admittedly a little small) and have a chair seat height of 19″.  That’s a LOT harder to find than you might think.

But after a full week of research, I landed on this beauty which we are currently awaiting delivery:

Hudson Nailhead Dining Chair

I can’t wait to finally see it in the space.  My only hesitation is that it might be TOO close to the Oscar arm chair we want.  So we’ll just have to wait and see.

For now, we’re still using one of our dining chairs at the desk until the new one arrives.  Not ideal, but it will do for now.

Office Revamp Preview

So what do you think?  I’m really loving the vibe the office is giving off.  A traditional, masculine study with a few feminine touches.

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My Funny Valentine

Valentine’s Day.  A day full of love, romance and scattered rose petals or a made-up holiday perpetuated and capitalized by the greeting card and flower industries?  I admittedly fall somewhere in the middle.  I think it’s a crock to make such a big deal about February 14th.  I do, however, appreciate the sentiment behind it so whether you choose 2/14 or another one of the 364 days of the year, it’s nice to take some time out of your day to show your significant other a little extra love.

Somehow I literally forgot to post last year’s budget-friendly Valentine’s Day recap so here we are.  With 12 days left to make your plans, here’s how Jefe and I celebrated last year in hopes of giving you a little inspiration.

To start, for the last 4 years, Jefe and I both agreed “we’re not doing anything.”  And every year without fail, we’ve both done something for each other.  My gifts have varied, but Jefe has been pretty standard with beautiful flowers (thank you 1-800-Flowers!)  He’s not a romantic flowers kind of guy so it’s always a pleasant surprise when they show up, always at the office.

Flowers at the office

Flowers' ride home

Don’t throw away the box!  Repackage them for the trip home and no spills!

Last year, I was a little strapped for cash so I had to get creative and turned to Pinterest for budget-friendly inspiration.  There were thousands of options, some cute, others VERY tacky, but the things that caught my eye the most – food.  They say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right?  Since VDay last year was on a Friday and Jefe would have just gotten home from a trip to NYC, I decided I’d make him his favorite for dinner – steak.

Dinner was a simple enough gesture though that I felt I needed to kick it up a notch.  So dessert was to be my special surprise.  Thanks to my Pinterest inspiration and Jefe’s unfailing love of root beer floats, I came up with this adorable little tag:

Valentine Float My Boat

Valentine Float My Boat 2

Then I attached the tag to a 4-pack of gourmet root beer (the vanilla ice cream patiently waited in the freezer.)

Valentine Float Root Beer

But that still didn’t seem to be enough so I whipped up a batch of brownies (Betty Crocker to the rescue!), pulled out a heart-shaped cookie cutter and went to town.  A treats box with gift tag later, and I had a great little set up.  To top it off, I grabbed one of our drinking straws, cut out a red heart from construction paper with 2 slits and added it to the straw.

Valentine Heart Shaped Brownies

With the places set though, the table looked a little bare (notice the vast void of blackness at the top of the picture).

VDay Place Setting 1

So I scrambled around the house for a few accessories to jazz up the space: flowers swiped from the bookshelf, votive candle holders stolen from another shelf, and I pulled out our fancy candle sticks.

VDay Place Setting 2

VDay Place Setting 3

I stood there staring, wishing I had a non-holiday table runner to really finish it off.  That was when I remembered Sherry of Young House Love fame (R.I.P. tear….) had previously used scarves to finish off a few spaces.  Next thing you know, I was rummaging around for my red infinity scarf and voila!

VDay Place Setting 4

All in I think I spent about $30 between supplies from Michael’s (gift tags, string, treat boxes and heart cookie cutter) and the grocery store (brownie mix, root beer and ice cream).  So you don’t need to get too fancy just to spread some extra love.  It was a bit cheesy, but I didn’t care and Jefe certainly appreciated the effort (and the brownie/root beer float mega dessert he had later that night!)

VDay Place Setting 5

Head on over to my Pinterest page to see some additional ideas that caught my eye for your own VDay inspiration!

Sledge is Back… Again!

For those readers still sticking with me, thank you!  I know it’s been awhile; the day job has taken a bit out of me the last few months but the flip side is all of those hours came with a long-awaited promotion!

But I’ve missed all of you and my little design projects.  So there’s definitely going to be more to come in the next few weeks, especially with Christmas right around the corner!

For now though, here are a few little teasers:

Fall Dining TableAnother quick fall update to our dining area.  I saw that great footed bowl at Target a few months, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the $40 on it.  Flash forward to 2 weeks ago and it was $10.95 in the clearance section.  Bam!  New bowl for my gourds.  Jefe knew he couldn’t fight it.  Home decor on clearance is my Achilles heel.

 

Fall Flower ArrangementTrader Joe’s has been selling some knockout fall bouquets the last two months.  For $8 I can get two of them that are overflowing, pop them in my glass pitcher and I’ve got a beautiful, full fall arrangement.  The yellow candles are also from the Target clearance section for $1.99 for a set of 2.  I may have grabbed more than one pack…

I’ve got a fun DIY dry erase board coming your way that is perfect for any Boston Red Sox fan in your life (yes, that is Green Monster Green for those wondering).  Jefe got this as one of his birthday presents this year.  Instructions to follow (along with our plans for the very unfinished office).

Dry Erase Board Preview

 

And last but not least, a little preview to my first holiday project of the season:

West Elm Design Love Fest DIY Garland

Will have more for you guys next week!

 

 

Share Your Heart

Last night I ducked out of the office (before it was even dark!) and headed over to West Elm for one of their DIY workshops.  This particular event was Valentine’s Day themed – crafting paper hearts to be sent to St. Jude’s Hospital where they will string them all together in an attempt to create the world’s largest paper chain!  And for each heart we created, West Elm donated $1 to the hospital.

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The actual crafting was free and they provided all of the supplies.  While there, I met some great people including a group of visual merchandisers for Macy’s, West Elm’s store manager and CJ, a stylist who runs their Instagram, @westelmla.

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There were also some great-looking refreshments, but as I’m still sticking hard core to my Weight Watchers plan (down 3 lbs so far!), I opted to just capture it on film.

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So let the crafting begin.  For my first heart, I knew I wanted it to be purple-themed in honor of my childhood friend Jill and all the kids like her at St. Jude’s.  I started out with a giant sheet of purple tissue paper.  I started doing a little ripping for a “rough edge” and needless to say, the finished project is not my best work, but I think the kiddies will like a heart option that isn’t pink or red.

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Next up, I snagged the roll of gold tape about as fast as I could and some letters for a little Jefe + Sledge action (that’s Geoff & Mallory for those new to the blog).  Of course, I opted for stripes.

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And lastly, I came across this ribbon at the bottom of a supplies bucket and knew exactly what to do with it – a little Kate Spade inspiration for a sickeningly sweet, picture perfect pink heart.

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So that about rounds out the night.  Here’s a little hint at what this store’s portion of the paper heart chain will look like strung up in St. Jude’s.

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If you want to catch some of the other hearts created, check out West Elm LA’s Instagram feed or search for their hashtag: #shareyourhearts.

Gobble Gobble DIY

As promised last week, we’re going to do a little time traveling here on SWS and travel back to the days of yore – holiday season so that I can recap some of my fabulously festive projects for you.  Today I’m sharing with you the little last-minute DIY burlap runner I whipped together in the few days before Thanksgiving.

Threshold Trellis Runner

This idea came to me when I realized that my new, lovely fall-themed Threshold runner from Target probably wouldn’t make it through Turkey Day unscathed.  It also didn’t look like it would hold up well through a cycle in the washer, so I decided that I needed an alternative runner option for our holiday table.  Enter free burlap fabric I had stashed in a drawer for the last year.

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I knew I wanted something Thanskgiving themed and after seeing more than my fair share of “Give Thanks” signs across Pinterest, I decided to make my own.  As my painting skills are seriously sub-par, I headed to Michael’s for some stencils provided by the god of craft, Martha.  Her stencils are pricey, so I searched for one with the highest likliehood of reuse, whipped out my coupon via iPhone, and dolled out $31 to the cashier (note: this was for ALL supplies purchased).  Now, I realize that this is $11 more than I paid for the finished runner I purchased at Target, but I really was looking for a one-of-a-kind piece that I made myself and the supplies I can reuse for many projects to come.

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Had there been more time this holiday season, I would have attempted to hand-make most of my gifts included a few of these bad boys for family members, but as we all know, December was a BLUR this year.

So, down to the nitty gritty.  First, I took one look at my burlap and knew it needed finished edges.  I used this tip (and overall DIY as a base) from Inspired By Charm and for the first time managed to cut a clean edge with the this type of fabric.

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Then I whipped out my handy no-sew hem type (who has room for a sewing machine anymore?!) and really cleaned up those edges.

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Half-way through I also realized I *might* want to iron the rest of the fabric – just keeping it real folks.

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And it wasn’t until I had already done 2 corners that I realized I should be paying a *bit* more attention to detail, and decided to neatly fold the ends to give them a more finished and professional look.  (Did I mention it was VERY late at night when I finished this?!)

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Once I had the finished edges, I decided on my stencil design which I didn’t want it to look like a stencil – I chose to use a small brush to connect any lines.  When planning the spacing, laying the stencils out side by side left too much space between the letters in particular.  So I traced them on to a piece of paper with the desired spacing and laid them out.

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The blue painters tape represents both the horizontal and vertical centers of the burlap.

With that done, it was time to pull out the paint.  I kept the pencil tracing versions for reference and moved VERY slowly.  We don’t want this looking like a craft project, now do we?

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Once I had the middle painted, I decided it needed just a little more punch, so I pulled out another stencil to finish the ends.

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(Ignore the pulled thread in the middle of the fabric.  A casualty discovered too late in the game to stop crafting…)

After a few hours dry time, I had myself a new table runner!

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On Thanksgiving Day, I was a bit preoccupied cooking an entire dinner for Jefe’s family to do much decorating, but I did manage to throw together an acceptable table setting.  At the time I was so busy and decided that ironing the table cloth was not worth the added fuss, but now that I see these pictures, I’m quickly regretting that.

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Kudos go to Momma Sny for the turkey place card holders courtesy of the Dollar Spot at Target.  Dishware is Ikea 365 (5+ years old) and the napkins and water glasses were new from World Market.

The menu included a brined, 16 lb.  turkey (World Market’s Turkey Brine has done me well twice now), Momma Sny’s sweet potatoes, some mashed potatoes with a touch of garlic, stuffing, Jenny Hobick’s Bacon Green Beans, homemade cranberry sauce, my grandmother’s secret recipe apple pie and 2 pumpkin pies from Magnolia Bakery.  We capped it off with some fabulous wine and some VERY tired feet on my part.

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(secret Snyder family recipe apple pie, before baking)

So naturally the next day I did what any sane person would do after spending the previous day on her feet, cooking a meal for hours on end: ventured to Disneyland for Black Friday!

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Dorm Meets Design

…And Sledge is back with a vengeance!

Let’s talk college. For those of us who have been there, we all remember the grueling late nights of studying (or rehearsing for us theater folk), the horrible cafeteria options and the dorms. Oh the dorms. That ridiculous rite of passage where by you’re forced to live with a perfect stranger for 9-10 months and cram your entire life into a poorly lit space the size of a shoe box.

Well for you new readers, I promise you there’s hope. Your first year does NOT have to consist of you gaining the freshman 15 and sleeping in a drafty room that reminds you of where Martha spent a year in West Virginia.

No matter how many times you’ve scoured your school’s website and Google Image searched, you really have no idea what kind of space you are walking in to. Maybe a little something like this:

Empty Dorm

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Or worse:

Empty Dorm 2

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But there are plenty of tips, tricks and advice towards making this cement block of a space feel like home.

The key to really enjoying your space is making it comfortable. That starts with the piece of furniture you’re going to spend most of your time in: the bed. Let’s start with support – a solid mattress pad and an egg crate are musts. Egg crate you ask? Yes, you can thank me later. Those mattresses are likely very uncomfortable and any extra cushion will be appreciated.

Good sheets are just as important. I’d recommend going a step up in the quality department. Seriously. Those college nights can be long, no matter what you’re doing and you’ll love coming home to a bed that doesn’t like it came out of Van Wilder.  Personally, Jefe and I loved our Striped Sheet Set from West Elm.  They’re extremely soft and held up really well after 2 years of solid use.

West Elm Striped Sheet Set

Comforters and duvets should be washable. Trust me. This will be your bed, couch, study spot, dinner table, and dance floor all in one. Spills are bound to happen. In terms of style, I’d pick something that’s uniquely you without screaming “Star Wars is my jam!” Going a little bit more sophisticated never hurt anyone.   A moderately priced duvet may be your best best as it’s washable and can be swapped out if you tire of it.  This actually was my duvet eons ago, in a bit more a sage color, and it was worth every penny; it got softer with every washing and paired nicely with the buttery yellow walls of my bedroom in our sorority house.  To pair with those great striped sheets, you could try a luxurious, yet neutral option from H&M’s new home line:

H&M Duvet Cover

Now lets talk pillows. As I suggested, that bed is going to get some serious use (wink wink). So besides your usual pillows, I would get a few “decorative” ones that can serve multiple purposes. I’ve found bigger European and body pillows are best and can turn any bed in to a couch or help create an extra seat on the floor.

Bed to Sofa

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Luckily, floor pillows are all the rage so it should be easy to find something in your particular taste.  I’m a big fan of these floor cushions that would work great as a backrest on  your bed or tossed on the floor for added seating.

World Market Floor Pillow

Lastly, I would add a throw blanket. It can be folded at the end of the bed, draped over the foot rail or used for extra warmth in cold months (or to cover your new best friend who fell asleep on your floor after a late night out).  And it adds a homey touch to an otherwise cold room.

Dorm Bed with throw

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After move-in day and you’ve had the chance to spend some time in your space, you can always look in to some DIY options for headboards. Is it necessary? No. Will it help make the space feel like it’s more yours and less like a cement cell? Definitely.   There are plenty of options from large wall decals to simple pieces of foam and fabric-wrapped wood that would really take your room up a notch. You’d be amazed what batting your eyes at that upper-class man with a pick-up truck will get you. Usually a free trip to Home Depot for the wood for your DIY project AND an invite to his house party later that night ;-).  Alternatively, you could go the wall decal route:

DIY Decal Headboard

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While researching this post, I also came across this great new invention: over the bed storage that can also double as a “headboard”.  You can customize the back wall with decorative paper or fabric and a little modge podge.  It also gives you some much needed storage above your bed for those photos of your besties from back home.

Overbed storage 2

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Overbed storage

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Lets talk lighting. Quite possibly the worst part of dorm life – those horrendous overhead fluorescents that make your skin look green. So we are going to TURN. THEM. OFF. Lamps are your best friends. It’s safe to say that you’ll need a minimum of 2 to truly avoid the overhead: one for your desk exclusively and one for the rest of the living space. And your eyes will thank you for that soft white light while you’re cranking away during a marathon study session. It will also give your space a great, homey atmosphere that will be the envy of all your hallmates. I would recommend a style that could easily transition to a first apartment so you’re not buying something as a temporary solution.

PB Teen Task Lamp

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Land of Nod lamp

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And that rule applies for just about everything other than those extra long twin sheets that you will most certainly never use again: purchase for longevity.  My third year of college I bought a queen size duvet for my twin bed; my only regret was not doing it 2 years earlier.   I manage to found one that was great quality (without breaking my budget),  so I was able to keep it for the long haul and still use it today.

Desk space. Lets get creative. Do you really need that plain mesh pencil cup from Office Depot? How about a pretty monogrammed mug from CWonder instead? It serves the same purpose but gives you a little panache.

CWonder Mug

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I think the same can be applied for just about anything: why choose a plain notebook when you can get one covered in chevrons that makes you smile every time you look at it? Or how about a cork board covered in fabric? Maybe some DIY bookends (kids still use actual books, right? Or am I that old?!)

CB2 Bookends

These are from CB2 but could EASILY be DIY’ed

The point is, take this as an opportunity to really exercise your imagination in how you can really put your stamp on the space so it’s as inviting as possible.

Storage. You’re gonna need more, no matter who you are. Unless you’re one of those lucky kids that gets an apartment in their first year and are spared this form of mild university-condoned hazing, you will inevitably need some form of storage beyond the blond wood, 30 year old dresser you’re issued. Once you’ve spent some time in your space, figured out what fits where and what still needs a home, plan that trip to your local Target (or if you’re one of the lucky kids near a city, a nearby Ikea). Modern, design savvy storage has come a long way since the standard clear plastic bins of my college years. Below are some suggestions:

Ikea Cart

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World Market Rolling Locker

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(Drink cart anyone?! For your bottles of Diet Coke…)

Closet storage is pretty straightforward.  Just find the things that work for you and your space.  3M hooks can be a lifesaver as are those hangers that can hold 4 pairs of pants at once.  I also used to drape my scarves over hangers to save space.

Lastly, let’s talk food. Yes, I know you’ve got a meal plan. But there will inevitebly be those times that you’re just sick of the cafeteria’s chicken parm or you really want a late night snack and don’t feel like leaving the building. For this, I’d recommend one full set of dishware. We’re talking real metal silverware kids. As for the plates, melamine has come a LONG way and there are so many cute options now. Just make sure that yours is microwavable as you never know when you want to heat up some leftovers or make a bowl of soup. Yes, you will have to wash them, but there’s just something nice about having something to call your own that is semi-permanent. And besides – you don’t have the space to hoard stacks of paper plates and cups.

Now for some inspiration of some epic dorm room design:

Boho Bold Glam

Boho Glam

Epic

This is probably the most shared, epic dorm room design I’ve ever seen.

Minimal Glam

Minimal Glam

Simple and Classy Room

So simple and easy!  A rug, some art, a pedestal, a plant and a new bookshelf.

Sorority Girl Room

For the bright and bubbly sorority girl

Traditionally Masculin

Traditional and masculin.  Love the suitcases for some under the bed storage!

As you can see, dorm room decorating has come a long way.  So here are two great examples of how to do a blue dorm room, on a budget, in different styles to really make your space your own:

PREPPY FEMININE

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MASCULINE ECLECTIC

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Q & A: The Great Merge – Part 2

As promised, today I’m bringing you Part 2 of Ali & Justin’s GREAT MERGE. For this post, we’re going to focus on that awkward little room just off their bedroom. They’re in desperate need of storage space and have more dressers than they have room for.

For a little refresher, here’s Ali’s little video tour:

As they don’t really need an office space, the next obvious solution is to turn it in to a dressing area. There unfortunately isn’t any space to add any additional storage pieces so today’s all about with working with what they’ve got. Starting with the left side of the room, I would use that little section of wall beside the lamp for some accessory storage.

Sunglasses frame storagevia

Moving over to the small dresser with mirror, this is where Ali does her hair. And if I remember anything about living with Ali, she is always doing crazy stuff with her hair… like the time she tried to dye it white. I may never let her live that one down ;-).

I would use a combination of drawer organizers and decorative bowls for things like headbands, bobby pins, and smaller bottles of hair products. Then for combs, brushes, and smaller curling irons, she could use a large vase or apothecary jar.

Dresser top 3via

Dresser top storagevia

For larger bottles of product she could neatly arrange them on a tray to streamline the look.

Tray with bottlesvia

Tray with bottles 2via

Lastly, I would suggest using a nicer, metal 3M hook on the right side of the dresser by the coat rack to hang her hairdryer so it’s within arms reach but is out of sight.

If Ali and Justin really want to get ambitious, I would hang the flatscreen TV on the wall. As it’s already a decent distance from the bed, a few more inches won’t matter. That way, it clears significant space on top of the dresser for additional storage.  And Ali could turn it in to a mini gallery wall!

TV Wall Galleryvia

I would also utilize decorative or 3M hooks (to avoid putting holes in the wall) on the wall to the right of the larger dresser. Ali mentioned that Justin prefers to hang rather than fold and this area would give him some additional options besides tossing items on top of others on the coat rack.

3M Hookvia

Continuing around the room, I would get some nice baskets for the bookshelf they’re using for storage.  It appears to be a tall Billy bookcase, in which case you can buy additional, individual shelves to make the most of the space.  On either side of the bookshelf, I would use that for additional storage.  On one side, Ali could install some towel racks for all of those scarves I know she still has.

scarf organizer 2via

On the opposite side, she could use a variety of solutions for her jewelry.  I think this painted cutlery tray hung on the wall is a great, easy solution that adds some visual interest:

Cutlery Storagevia

Now, lets talk style. All of these little DIY storage and organization projects can be areas where Ali can really add some of her eclectic flare, between hanging her jewelry as decor to using vintage frames. To update the dressers, Ali can replace the hardware with something a bit more her style.

And to really amp things up, I would replace that overhead can light with something a little more glamorous and less 1980’s. It may require calling an electrian, but for the $50-$100 it would cost, it the difference it would make is worth the cost.

West Elm Capiz Light

I am loving the West Elm Small Capiz Chandelier which would bring in softer, rounder shapes in to the otherwise angular room. The price, however, may not be what Ali’s looking for, so she could try her hand at one of these DIY versions:

HGTV Faux Capiz Shell Pendant Tutorial
Design Sponge Capiz Shell Tutorial
Freshly Picked  Capiz Chandelier

Although this extra little room is a bit odd, I think with some of the above suggestions Ali can really add some much needed storage as well as real eclectic style that she likes so much.

So how about you all?  Any creative storage solutions that are both function and pretty on the eyes?  I’m a HUGE fan of 3M hooks; I use them for my long dangly necklaces and my fancy purses I’d rather not shove in the dusty space underneath our bed (just keeping it real, kids).