• Bre Oriolo

What's Your Decorating Dilemma?

We all have that tricky space...a blank wall you just don't know how to decorate. What do I put on those shelves? I put a call out for photo submissions and questions for your biggest decorating dilemmas. Read on to see the suggestions and advice I gave for these three dilemmas. You might just have the same trouble areas in your home.


Decorating Dilemma #1: Bathroom Shelving

Question: What do I put on this shelving?

*After asking further, the top shelf is about 6" high and the bottom shelf is about 12" high*


Suggestions: First of all, kudos for already having greenery--it's always a good "go-to" for decorating a bathroom. Here's how I'd decorating the shelving: Put 5-7 small apothecary jars on the top shelf. Odd numbers are visually appealing. Fill only 2-3 of those jars, leaving some empty. This helps reduce visual clutter. I know that Brooke has a passion for reusing materials, so vintage bottles would be neat! Filler ideas: cute matches, bath salt, a single eucalyptus stem.


I got this image from Laurel Leaf Farm website


Since we have a lot of little items on the top shelf, I want one longer item on the bottom. I like these Not Paper Towels from Geometry House, a reusable and washable paper towel (I just like the product, I get no compensation for recommending these). You can purchase a tray for them. I'd get the tray and then stack a few of the paper towels on top for that shelf. On the backing of the shelf, you could hang a 5x7 framed art.












I had a second submission for bathroom shelving. She already has some good things going here- again, love the greenery (and vase)! I'm just going to add to what she started to complete the look.


Suggestions: Have the greenery stems in the vase a little taller than the frame next to it, or a little shorter. What we want to do here is layer our heights. We don't want any two objects to have the same height. Let's also add in something with a short, low height. I like either wooden or glass decorative beads. For wooden, make it a light toned wood, contrasting with the wood in the shelves. For glass, coordinate it with the color scheme you have in the space. Just like the first shelving example, we have several smaller objects on top. Same concept here, I want one or two longer objects to take up more space on the bottom (this also reduces the visual clutter). Stacked boxes would look so good here. As always, coordinate the boxes with other things you have in the area. You could also store personal products in the boxes as an added bonus.


Aren't my phone sketches amazing?! :)





Other "go-to" bathroom shelving decor: stack of extra hand towels, candles, lotions, room sprays.





Decorating Dilemma #2: Ugly Baseboard Heaters


Question: How can I minimize the look of ugly baseboard heaters? How can I decorate around them, while being safe? Curtains are tricky because I have to hang them so high.


Suggestions: 1) They actually sell all kinds of covers for these to help with appearances. Search "modern baseboard heater covers" to find ones that would fit your style+sizes needed.

2) Distract, distract, distract! Distract attention away from the heater and to something else. I think she did a great job of this by hanging a pretty patterned curtain! We know hanging curtains are tricky because of the heater, so install a fun bold wallpaper or put a bench a little ways in front of the window. 3) Instead of using curtains as a window treatment, install Roman shades. Use a fun, bold, patterned fabric and I promise no one will be looking down at the heater!

I got this photo from The Gathered Home Blog; also I want this fabric!


An additional suggestion is if the heater/heater cover is the same color as the walls, paint the window trim to make the window stand out (the heater will blend more with the wall, and the attention will go to the window). I know some people are really against painting woodwork or trim, but here it would really do the window justice, especially since the view is of beautiful flowers. Paint colors to consider for this: medium- dark grey, navy, or really any color that suits the rest of the space.




Decorating Dilemma #3: Furniture Layout


Question: This sectional is going.How would I arrange new furniture? Do you think 2 sofas would work in here?


Suggestions: Yes! I love the idea of breaking this arrangement up with two sofas. I'd also add some nesting tables as the coffee tables. They're so versatile and the smaller one can be pulled to a different area if/when needed. The rule of thumb for a coffee table is to be 2/3 the length of the sofa. I'd also put two chairs in front of the windows, centered around the middle window. Wingback style of chairs would work well, or personally, I'd use swivel chairs, so you can turn to look out the window.

quick sketch of proposed furniture arrangement (not to scale)

I like the concept of book cases flanking the TV, these arched etageres are my favorites. Sometimes living rooms have a tendancy to be "boxy"--everything is square or rectangular in shape. By adding arches for the bookcases, having round coffee tables, and possibly some curves in the window chairs, you are providing some softness and balance to the space.


Something else to note when working on a furniture layout/floorplan, are your points of entry. Here, I made sure to include two entry points to access the family room area. PS- Anyone else love her trio of mirrors on the mantel? She layered heights and everything! Also, the way she has the largest one at a pretty tall height, it draws the eye up--that's what we want when you have 2 stories open like that.



There you have it--3 Decorating Dilemmas and many ideas to address them. I hope these ideas were beneficial for you! Please share this with anyone else you think it would benefit. Didn't get your photo + question in this time around? Stay tuned to my IG for June's Decorating Dilemmas or sign up for my emails + newsletters at www.2ndstoryinteriors.com (scroll to the bottom to sign up).

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