Category Archives: Design Idea Posts


(this post contains affiliate links)

By now my guess is you have most of your Christmas decorations unpacked and beautifully displayed around your house, but maybe this year you are still wanting to add a new look in a couple of areas and are not quite sure how to accomplish that.

I wanted to give you some ideas in this blog and make it EASY to copy!  I am including links at the bottom so you can just order and create this exact look, HOWEVER Amazon changes its supply often, or you may not be able to get it by Christmas.  So order for next year’s table setting OR search around and see if you can find something similar online or in stores and use these pictures as examples.


This whole look is from Amazon and is the perfect Christmas ensemble.  I started with the tray which is a distressed mirrored glass bordered by rustic wood.  Round trays look good on both round and square tables.

Then I added the pine tree in a pot.  The pot was a little deep so I crumpled up some paper to lift the tree up.  The deer figurine is small but beautiful, and could really go anywhere in the house, but I loved it right here.

I found this “Merry and Bright” wood sign which is small enough to perfectly fit on this tray, and then added the gold pinecone (which I love!) and tapered candle.  To pull it all together I cut some branches off a pine tree in our yard and circled them around the bottom (you can use any kind of pine branches).



Sometimes bringing a centerpiece together is a matter of collecting things you love.  This setting has a mix of old and new, gold and candlelight, farmhouse and traditional, with a few pine needles from the backyard.   And it all works!

These rope gold candlesticks bookend the decor and add a hint of traditional and formal.

And more gold pinecones..

(Note: Amazon recently changed their supply–this particular one is not available but I’ve included a link to a similar set)


I found this white deer at Lowes–they have great Christmas decorations this year!

And, from Magnolia Market…the salt and pepper shaker. 

A great table runner creates the foundation for any table setting.  The one if found has a warm, natural, creamy look.  I love it.



One more look:

I have listed below the links to find most of these items so you can create these looks if you want.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!




Round Mirrored Wood Tray

Gold Rope Candlesticks

Gold Pinecone Holders

Magnolia Market Salt and Pepper Shaker

White Deer with Wreath on Neck

Small White Deer Figurine

Small Pine Tree

Merry and Bright Wood Sign
DII Cotton Everyday Machine Washable Chindi Rag Table Runner, 14 X 72″, Natural


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Are you craving an updated space to work?  Or to organize your mom-life?  Home offices tend to be one of the last places we “design” (my own office is a testament to that) because they are often out of view so we don’t care how it looks, and it can feel overwhelming because of the organization involved.

I have worked on three offices for friends in the last few months, in fact I am finishing up this one with my friend Jamie Larson from The Snap Society today:

But the makeover I want to showcase today is my friend Kelly’s office.  Kelly runs a successful online business out of her home called Directly Successful and needed a functional and inviting place to work.   We went to work this fall and we are both so pleased with how it turned out.

Before I show you pictures however, I want to share with you two key areas to focus when redesigning an office space that works for you:  FUNCTION and STYLE.  Not only does your space need to work for you (organization, room layout, etc) but it needs to be inviting enough that you actually want to “get away” into that space to be productive.

Kelly asked for both of these concepts.

FUNCTION:  Kelly films videos for her business and needed a place to sit with an interesting background that was brand consistent.  She also expressed that she is someone who needs to “see” all the projects she is working on, so we needed to provide organization of her files, etc but they needed to be visible. I told Kelly that I had her back in that one–I am exactly the same.

STYLE: Kelly’s brand colors were a navy blue, gold and pink.  We pulled these colors together into a stylish and inviting room that Kelly LOVES to be in now.

Here are a few Before and Afters (I love this part!)

Let me break it down a little.

  1. Kelly cleared out a lot of miscellaneous items–chairs, boxes on the ground, shelving that was holding books and files, and other non matching furniture items.  Her dining room was a hot mess for a couple of weeks as she sorted and organized.
  2. We painted three walls a wonderful color called Colonial Grey.  We painted the fourth wall behind the couch a deep navy called Calligraphy.  This wall serves as the backdrop for Kelly’s videos and displays a eye-catching gallery picture collection.
  3. We purchased a couch and ottoman because Kelly prefers to work there over working from her desk (here here!)
  4. We made an Ikea run for storage items and a bookcase.
  5. After bringing in all of the design and storage elements, Kelly re-organized all of her papers and projects into the new space.

Here are pictures of the finished office:

(Above) We hung wood shelves behind her desk to display some decorative items.  To the right of the shelves is a bulletin board and hanging storage for Kelly to easily access work files, etc.   The framed dry erase board was something I made for Kelly using a glass poster frame and I just painted the back of the glass with a neutral color.  She uses this to jot down work ideas, dates and tasks.

(Above) We purchased this couch and ottoman where Kelly spends most of her time working.  I brought in a floor lamp for warmer lighting options, and created the gallery wall behind her couch with her brand colors, inspirational words and warm wood tones.

Kelly found this chair which was the perfect color and accent to the room.

Here is Kelly being all productive…

She had this great phone which we placed on the side table…I just love it.

(Above) One problem that Kelly wanted solved is that when she was filming a video or a webinar, her family would walk by or try to get her attention on the other side of the french doors.  She wanted a way to have privacy while she was working and also to have a second backdrop for her videos.  To solve this problem we hung curtains on the inside of the french doors…closed they offer privacy and a cute backdrop!

I brought in all sorts of storage options for her desk and she picked the ones that worked best for her.

Finally, this bookcase from Ikea has become one of my favorite office makeover additions.  The wood tones warm the space and it just holds so many different items- books (of course), but files and boxes and baskets too.

I am going to be offering a “Make Over Your Office In Five Days” mini course in the near future.  I will help you create a space you love in a clear step by step process!  To receive information about this in the future and occasional design posts, subscribe HERE!

One more BEFORE and AFTER:


Kelly said she has been more productive in this space than ever before.

Side note, I am TERRIFIED of spiders and for some reason TWO BIG ONES appeared during this design project.  There was a lot of screaming and jumping up and down.  Here is fearless Kelly getting one of them:

More office makeovers to come, along with simple and inspiring design ideas for your home.

And you can follow me on instagram @amyleehayes.





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I thought this week might be a good week to share something totally surface but hopefully entertaining– a tour of our new home.  We have lived here 4 1/2 months now, so not brand new, but we are still getting settled (my last project is to paint our son’s room over Thanksgiving break).

We have done quite a bit of remodeling since we moved in, tearing out walls and building a kitchen island from scratch.  I painted our kitchen cabinets and installed a stacked stone back splash.  I’ve painted almost every room a cream color, wanting a peaceful neutral background accented by blue and grey accessories. We also added new laminate flooring–which has stumped everyone who has come over–“Really?  It’s laminate??”  Yep.

So, here’s a quick tour!




To the left of the entryway is a sitting area.  This is more commonly used as a dining room in this model, but as part of our simplifying venture, we decided to have one dining area, and then a separate sitting area for family members to have their own space if needed.  This has become one of my favorite spaces when I get up before everyone else to sit and read and pray in the morning.

House Tour

House Tour

As you leave the front room you enter the kitchen/family room.  The post you see to the right used to be one end of a wall which enclosed much of the kitchen.  There was originally no island.  We took down the wall and built an island to open the space up.

House Tour

The pendants along with the chandelier over the dining table are new–along with most other lighting on the main floor (all from Lowes!).

House Tour

The cabinets used to be an oak color, so I painted those and added hardware.  I also added this stone back splash which seemed to pull it all together.

House Tour

This is a view into our family room.  In the background is the hallway to a nice storage closet, a bathroom, and to the left an office that Jon and I share.

House Tour

This is my space in the office (I’m just really borrowing a little area in my husband’s man-cave), but it’s all I need to stay orgainized.  In the summer, hydrangeas, my favorite flower, bloom outside the window to the left of my desk.

House Tour

We try to gather as a family at this table for dinner as much as possible.

House Tour


House Tour

House Tour

This is a gallery wall that I recently completed in our family room. Gallery walls are great ways to add personality, meaning and warmth to a large wall.



Heading back toward the front door.  I wanted to show you this picture for a couple of reasons.  First, where the light is hanging down between the two doors, there used to be wall.  You basically couldn’t see these doors.  We removed the wall and then added bead board to the whole area, making it a bit of its own little entry-room from the garage, while adding character (as did the hanging light).

House Tour

This is heading upstairs.  We love our upstairs and these pictures probably won’t do it justice.  There are four rooms plus a laundry room circling a large landing area.  In this picture you can see our daughter’s room (who is at college) which doubles as a guest room.


Here is her room.  All the furniture is from IKEA and we painted it a warm brown called Tavern Taupe–one of my favorites!


To the left of her room are our other two children’s rooms.  There is a bathroom in the middle.  When we moved in we painted the bathroom the same color as the rest of our house ( Maison Blanche), and added these wood shelves for storage for our kids–like toothpaste, brushes, gel, etc.

House Tour

Back out in the hallway you can see our master bedroom and the laundry room on the right.  I LOVE having a laundry room upstairs.


This is our bedroom.  It isn’t quite what I would like it to be yet–we’ve had this red chair forever, and it’s not in the budget to replace, so I worked with it to decorate this room.  I added new curtains, painted (this color is called Safari Chic), and then a pillow to pull in the red from the chair and the gold pillows and throw we already owned.  It took me a long time to find the right pillow, but I’m now quite attached to the fox.

House Tour

House Tour

Here we are back downstairs, heading out the front door.  We have been incredibly blessed in our journey to downsize as we love this home in many ways even more than the larger home we moved from.  We have learned so many lessons about simplifying and contentedness and trusting God in his plan and not ours through this move.

House Tour

Thanks for stopping by to visit.



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Decorating with Style

I think we innately all love the peaceful feeling of a home that is tastefully decorated–just the right amount of wall hangings, little to nothing on the counters except a few decorative items, perfectly coordinated pillows set in just the right spots on the couch, and bedrooms that show no trace of actual living except a well made bed and a matching dresser.

I’ve just described every new builder model home in America.

The fact of the matter is that most homes have too many wall hangings because we just love our darn family so much we want to display as many pictures as possible, the kitchen counters have practical items like used coffee mugs from the earlier in the day that just didn’t make it to the sink along with the recipe book you will use tonight and the stack of mail that practically needed the most convenient place to be dropped.  Oh and the couch pillows? Look behind the couch or on the floor–that’s where ours live 50% of the time.


That is the reality of living (well, hopefully this picture is a slight exaggeration!).  So how do we make our homes feel peaceful AND practical?

Both life mess and decorating “overdoo” can cause our home to look cluttered.  When we are raising a family, socks, wrappers, homework, laundry, etc. are just going to exist.  But we can help reduce the overwhelm feeling by having our homes decorated with classy simplicity.

So how do you know if your home is overdecorated?  Take this little quiz (Y/N):

  1. My home seems mis-matched.  I have purchased things over the years like furniture and wall hangings that just don’t go together.
  2. I have a lot of furniture in most rooms. I don’t know what to get rid of.
  3. I have something hanging on almost every wall.
  4. I have several different patterns going on throughout my home.
  5. I don’t feel peaceful in my home.  It seems like my decor is just “off.”

If you answered 3 or more “yes” then this post series is for you!

For most of us, the answer is LESS is MORE.  More peace, more style, more happy.  But we tend to fill our homes with too much which works against that.

People who have a knack for design are able to put a lot of things on a wall or in a room, but that is because they know how to coordinate scale, color, size and patterns very well, like this picture to the rightdesign styleIf you are feeling unsettled in your home, it feels a little chaotic or busy, or just “not right” it may be because those elements aren’t flowing for you.  My word of advice is to pare down.  Take things away, at least for now, until you start to feel calm and peaceful in your home.

This post is one of three on a series of de-cluttering your home.  In this series I will share tips on how to create that peaceful, welcome feeling in your home by discussing three areas:  WALLS, FURNITURE,  and COLOR.

Today’s post will be all about our walls!

Re Working Our Walls

Cluttered, busy walls can easily create a feeling of chaos in a home.  


I was a home stager for several years and walls tended to be one area where homeowners needed the most help.  Here are 5 common mistakes with wall decorations:

2.  Hanging pictures/items on too many walls:

There are only  few areas in your house where you NEED to have hanging/decorative items on walls: fireplace mantles, above beds, above dressers and over couches.

All of these areas have large visual impact on the bottom half of the wall and if we leave the top half blank it just looks unfinished.

The rest of the walls–well they are negotiable.

In rooms that have 3 or 4 walls, aim to have pictures or hangings on one wall only.  Yep.  Now, you can have items on more than one wall, but the truth is most people are not sure how to coordinate the items, or size them correctly, so the room looks mis-matched.   So, if you think you might struggle with this, just decorate ONE wall.   Pick the largest one, and hang away.

3.  Too many goupings of pictures throughout house: Replace small groupings of items with a large item–like a mirror, or a large framed print.  One large item often feels more simple and eye pleasing.

4.  Groupings with incorrect spacing: Hang pictures in a group with about 1.5 inches between the frames.  One mistake people commonly make is to hang pictures in a group too far apart from each other.

5. Hang pictures or wall decor at eye level.  When pictures are too high they throw off the balance of the room.

My challenge to you would be to go around your house and start taking things down off the walls or adjusting what you currently have based on those tips.  Put the extra items on the floor in a back room for now.  Live in your house that has less and see how you feel.

If you find yourself feeling lighter when you are in your home, maybe it’s time to give those items away or sell them.  Organize photos in an album or in some frames on a table.

Here are some pictures of peaceful, calm rooms:

53cd6945356d1_8611PrairieView-297D-021-Master (Large)_1240x800

Just one larger picture above the bed creates a sense of calm.

dining room

No picture on dining room wall–allows focus to be on chandelier and front entry table and mirror.


Only decorative items on the counter and some empty wall space in the background.


Picture over fireplace but not on stairwell wall.


One large picture by dining room table.  Two coordinating pictures/frames over couch.

No matter what your decorating style, you can always declutter, coordinate and simplify your walls.

Hopefully you are able to give some of these ideas a try!  I would love to hear your comments or questions if you do!


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Alright, so who doesn’t like to see a room makeover?  If you raised your hand then I’m afraid I just can’t be your friend.  Just kidding. There is something about seeing a transformation that humans get all excited about–we love stories that tell of renewal or change or hope.

And it’s why so many of us have jumped on the Chip and Joanna Gaines bandwagon as of late.  We all want a bit of fixin’ up.

One thing I love about my job is I get to help people totally redo the rooms they live in, so that they feel GOOD spending time in those spaces.  I recently got to help a new friend makeover her family room and kitchen which were all connected in one big space.  Karen called me because they hadn’t updated or decorated this main space in their home and wanted a warm but designed feel.   She and her husband had in their budget room for some new chairs, a new coffee table and a new kitchen table and chairs.  Plus, all the goodies that go into accessorizing a space (art and curtains and plants, etc.).

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Do you have shelves in you home that you’ve tried to decorate but just wonder if they could look better? There is good news, you can love your shelves!


Shelves can be such a conundrum when it comes to decorating.  How many things on each shelf?  What sizes, colors, shapes?  You may ask, “How come my shelves just look messy?  Or cluttered?”

Shelves can look awesome or not so awesome depending on how they are put together and I hope to give you a little help on this topic today, although it might take a little work on your part too (I’ll explain at the bottom of the post).

I had fun this week taking some new shelfies!  (Sorry, couldn’t resist).  My friend just moved into a new house and had custom shelves built around a beautiful new fireplace. She asked if I would come over and help her style them.  She didn’t have to ask twice!

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Hello! Welcome to a Designed Home post.  Have you have ever considered painting your kitchen cabinets?  I painted ours a creamy white a couple of years ago and I am hooked:

FullSizeRender (2)

Recently I was hired by a client to paint her cabinets.  She wanted to brighten up her kitchen that felt a little dark.

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I am excited to take you along with me as I complete design projects for my clients (who are friends by the end!).  On this page I will take you into homes and show you before and after pictures, completed rooms and how to design certain areas of your home.  I love to work on a budget so I will share my favorite shopping tips.  See you here soon!

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