Episode #100: How to Define Your Decor Style and Make Mood Boards

Hi everyone! No big deal, but it’s EPISODE 100!!!!!!!! We are SO grateful for each of you who has listened in, left us a review or told your friends about our podcast. Thank you!

This week, Laura is filling in for Emma (who is out on maternity leave) and we’re talking about how to define your decor style and how to make your first mood board.

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

Thanks to this week’s sponsors! Check out the offers from AgilityBev, BetterHelp and Ritual! And you can find any past codes on this page.

Show notes:
-Laura mentions Template App as an easy way to make mood boards.

-Here’s Laura’s first home with the leopard mural and here’s her living room.

-Here’s Laura’s second home (which is extensively documented on our blog, and you can see all her room tour posts here). Here are a few great tours:

Laura’s den, dining room, kitchen tour and nursery tour.

-Here’s Elsie’s “artsy thrift store girl” loft.

-Here’s Elsie’s first home (historic home meets Urban Outfitters, lol): Dining room, kitchen, you can see the horse statement wall here. It was a really special home.

-Here’s Elsie’s first Nashville home (aka the mid-century home) My favorite posts from that home were the rainbow bookshelves, the a-frame playhouse, den, main bathroom, the bathroom that started our pink obsession and this Halloween home tour.

Laura’s current mood board.

Elsie’s current mood board.

-Sparks Joy!!!!!! Elsie mentions Do A Dot Art markers.

Here’s a photo of our current fridge. We spent a whole weekend on this!

-Laura mentions her favorite coffee.

-Here’s a list of our favorite wallpaper sources by style if you are designing a home right now (or are designing your future home on Pinterest, haha) and Elsie’s top 10 favorite things she’s bought for her new home!

-Did you hear our podcast on How To “Nancy Meyer’s” Your Home?

-Here’s some tips on how to add personality to a cookie cutter home!

How to Choose a Color Scheme For Your Home, Your Closet or Both!

Thanks so much for listening!! We appreciate you! xx- Elsie

Miss an episode? Get caught up!

Episode 100 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. This week we’re teaching you how to define and develop your decor style and also how to make mood boards, these skills can really help you on your quest to make your own cozy dream home. Laura is joining me this week. Hi, Laura!

Laura: Hi, everybody.

Elsie: So we are big mood board people. So I’m really excited that you could join me on this episode and teach everyone how to do it. In the show notes. We will for sure show our mood board from our current homes, because we — I mean, they’ve been on the blog before, but they are like a big deal. Like, would you say it’s like one of the first big choices you make when you start a renovation?

Laura: Yeah, and it hasn’t always been like a physical mood board. I’ve done a lot of it in my head, I think in the past. And maybe that’s also because, like, Pinterest was newer at the time. So I wasn’t going to, like, cut out magazines and make like a physical one. But the more that, like, it became easier to get, like, stuff on a pinboard, then I think it’s just so helpful to see everything all in one spot. It’s so easy to do even if you’re not like a huge Photoshop expert or anything, you know, you can still do it with, like the template app, which I’ve done before. It’s just really easy to make a mood board these days.

Elsie: So first, let’s talk about developing your style. So Laura and I, we’ve been friends a long time. We met because our husbands were best friends. They used to be in a band together and like toured around together. And so I met her when I started dating Jeremy and we fell in love when she started — we both started renovating our first homes together, like we bought our first homes at the same time. And I remember we had like a coffee date where we were like talking about sofa shopping and like, doesn’t that feel like so long ago?

Laura: Yes, different life…

Elsie: A different lifetime for sure. So I thought it would be like a funny game that I could explain your style evolution and then you can explain mine because they’re really drastic, and also like the things I feel like the things that I’ll remember are different from the things that you would say, right?

Laura: Yeah. OK, ok, ok. I can’t, I can’t even imagine…this is going to be hilarious.

Elsie: Yeah. And OK. Just so everyone knows as much as I can, I’m going to put links in the show notes for everything that we mentioned throughout this episode. That’s like an old post that was shown because there is a lot in there. OK, Laura’s style evolution: in your first home, you guys lived in a rental house and I remember you had like beige walls like tan, that they would not let you paint. So when you bought your first home, you said, I’m going to paint every wall and I’m not going to paint anything beige and I’m basically not going to paint anything white. So the color that she chose was mimt blue and her entire house was mint blue throughout. Is that accurate?

Laura: That is accurate!

Elsie: And then here, OK, so I remember this house was like it had a lot of good design wise and it definitely had some that were on the blog. So the biggest DIY was the snow leopard wall. She took engineer prints and graphed out this picture of a snow leopard and then she by hand, wallpapered the engineer prints onto her wall. And I think that it was like a very tedious process because there was like a lot of, like, bubbling because it’s like very thin, like the cheapest possible printer paper.

Laura: It’s like thin copy paper.

Elsie: So, yeah, the most tedious, like Laura has like a very high capacity for tedious projects. And that was one of the first times when I really realized that because I would have given up for sure if I started putting like a panel on the wall and it all started bubbling. But she like hand like pricked each bubble and smoothed them out. And it turned out perfectly. And that’s why Laura’s been a DIY writer for almost ten years now, because she has the capacity for, like the trial and error that it takes to be a DIY writer. OK, what else will I say about the first home is the — one of the other colors in the color scheme it was basically like mint blue, black and white, and neon yellow. So there was a lot of accents that were neon yellow. And at this point in her evolution, it was an absolute necessity that the white had to be bright white. It couldn’t be any type of off-white, which is very limiting.

Laura: Yes.

Elsie: And very hard to shop with those standards. Oh, also, she had a bright blue, blue was a color too — bright blue. So there was a bright blue cowhide rug too. Anyway, that is — that’s that house. Then we’ll move on to your house in Nashville. So the biggest thing that changed in the second house is that she did white walls everywhere instead of the mint and she started doing pink, and pink became, as some people know, our whole world. So pink became like a very, very big color in our universe at that time. And she had a pink dining room and started like — and this was your first mid-century house. So I would say that in this house you really explored your mid-century style and kind of went all out with, like, sixties glam.

Laura: Yes, yeah. A lot of pink, a lot of 60s glam, a lot of pictures of Palm Springs.

Elsie: And she started loosening up on her color scheme. So she first let in the — like a cream white was the first step.

Laura: Yeah. (laughs).

Elsie: And then years later, when she was close to moving, she started to let in like the mustard yellow color. And I was stunned. I was blown away…

Laura: And a little bit of caramel color because I was doing like leopard. So I was like, OK, camel can be there if it’s in leopard.

Elsie: And kind of similar to the snow leopard wall, she did a lot of like big moments, like there was a big neon sign, what else…

Laura: Hand painted wallpapers…like Lola’s room and the dining room.

Laura: …A hand painted floor outside.

Elsie: There was like a rainbow flower and a black and white floor. Because those kinds of things have to be repainted every few years so you can change it up.

Laura: Yeah. Painted patio.

Elsie: Yeah, OK, and then in her new home in Pennsylvania, it’s another mid-century home, which is like, amazing, because I did not think you were going to find a mid-century home like that in Pennsylvania. Like, I was shocked.

Laura: It’s hard to find. Yeah, they’re hard to find around here for sure.

Elsie: So there’s still a lot of consistency from the last house. But the biggest difference is a lot more yellow and gold and a much more broad color scheme is like the biggest change, would you say?

Laura: Yeah, and it’s pretty much mostly all warm at the moment with like a little bit of cool accents and like different rugs and artwork.

Elsie: That’s right! You’ve gone from like an exclusively cool color scheme to an exclusively warm. That’s so interesting.

Laura: Yeah, and it’s weird because I don’t know if it’s like a normal thing, but I feel like after I had my daughter is when I like, totally changed my color scheme. So I don’t know if that happens a lot with moms with like everything changes and their decor, taste changes. But that was definitely like the year after I had her. It was like, I’ll do brown and I would like never have done brown ever before that. So it’s pretty drastic.

Elsie: Yeah. It’s like so fun for me to watch how your style’s evolved. And I think for our religious blog readers as well, they all know it as well. It’s just like so much fun to see how you can change over the years. So yeah, for everyone who is defining your style for the first time, I just want this to be like an encouragement to you that you don’t do this one time. It’s a process that you’ll be doing forever for the rest of your life, especially if you move to multiple homes or even just like change things up through the years. You don’t have to pick something that’s like permanent forever. It’s just what you’re into now. \ OK, do me. I’m so excited! (laughs)

Laura: So. (laughs) Well, so you’ve been at a lot of places because you had like your apartment I feel like right when we first met you that the shop was below.

Elsie: Right.

Laura: Connected to. So starting out from there I would say it was very like artsy thrift store girl, you know, lots of handmade DIY like DIYs that are very obviously handmade. But that’s the point. You know, it’s like you’re supposed to know, like “I made this by hand”.

Elsie: …with yarn. (laughs)

Laura: So a lot of that, a lot of, like, really cute. Or you’d have, like, all the tiny little like fawn figurines, you know, from like the thrift store and stuff like little collections like that. And then at the next house. So like your house with Jeremy, like your first house together, I feel like it got like a more sophisticated version of that. So it was kind of like, you know, like how Urban Outfitters will do like trendy thrift store stuff that’s like more expensive and like better done. I’ll still see, like pillows and stuff at Urban Outfitters that remind me of, like that house. It’s like, oh, that’s from like that house era at Urban Outfitters.

Elsie: I just think it’s funny that when I had a historic home that my favorite store was Urban Outfitters. Clearly. Like it, just like it’s such a funny…

Laura: But they have a vintage feel.

Elsie: It’s true.

Laura: It makes sense, though. They have a vintage feel. I think that’s why it like, it it worked. It just felt like an updated, like trendier version of like vintage stuff. And then you had your DIY projects got like a little more sophisticated where it’s like they were still, you know, had that like hand-drawn or handmade element. But they were looking like a little more sophisticated. And you had like the pony wall in the entryway. You had that light fixture over your dining room with like all of the different bulbs hanging down at the different heights. I remember that…

Elsie: My dad made that!

Laura: I bet that was a tough one to put together. (laugh)

Elsie: It was really tough.

Laura: That was like a tough one to get them all hanging the exact way you wanted. And then that room you also had the like Polaroid Wall do that and like kind of that like bonus room. The entire wall was covered with pictures. So I remember that. And then you had like the porch in the back that was really cute with all the, like, patio lights. And did you paint did you paint the porch a color also? Or was that just the stones?

Elsie: Yeah the stones below, they were kind of like square, just like cement tiles. And I thought I was like being exactly like Kate Spade. And I just painted like random ones, like bright colors, like the brightest possible colors. Yeah. And that was my backyard.

Laura: Yeah, yeah. And then you had, you had several hand-painted walls because you had like the room in your room over the bedroom. That was like the writing…

Elsie: Right.

Laura: …that you did with the paint the black paint.

Elsie: I was really into statement walls, and I was really into like finding projects you could do with paint.

Laura: And in the kitchen we had that like, what was it, peach wall?

Elsie: That was probably the best one. And people still mention it once in a while, and I’m still proud of it. I still think it looks good and it’s probably like the best one that if someone wants to do one, it looks pretty much like wallpaper.

Laura: Yeah, I think that was a stamp to like part stamped, part painted. And then at your next house in Nashville, you started to go like more warm, cozy, 70s style with some like some boho elements here and there, some farmhouse elements I feel like with like your table and the chairs. But a definitely like again, kicked it up another notch, sophistication wise of the DIYs to where it was like a lot of things, you wouldn’t even know that you did it yourself, you know, but still lots of photos, still lots of textiles. And then with the new house, it looks like it’s kind of like that kicked up another notch with like the 70s and the warm and cozy and all of the tones and some 90s elements a little bit with like, you know, all the like 90s movie posters that you guys have in the TV room. And I don’t know if it’s actually 90s, but sometimes like flower prints, just in general with like wallpaper and stuff.

Elsie: I think the new wallpaper in the office has a 90s feel about it. I kind of think it’s like the…

Laura: It’s basically how you dress.

Elsie: True.

Laura: Right? Like most people’s houses I feel like…not always but sometimes it’s funny when it’s like basically how they dress as a house.

Elsie: Oh my gosh. That’s like, the greatest compliment.

Laura: It’s like you wear some stuff that’s 90s, some stuff that 70s and then some that’s like a little whatever, a little bit farmhouse-inspired would be as a clothing. But some of the 90s is kind of in that range too, like the little smocked, you know, flower print stuff.

Elsie: It’s all true. That was fun hearing your rendition of it all. I think it’s so interesting how people can change through the years and like sometimes in unexpected ways, like sometimes you say, oh, I would never use that color. And then, like, lo and behold, it’s like your favorite color in your next house.

Laura: I know, it’s crazy. Never say never.

Elsie: Let’s take a quick break for our sponsors.

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Elsie: Let’s talk about the difference that it has made for us using mood boards when we’re decorating. This is a huge difference. Like in my first home that Laura’s describing with like all the statement walls, I think I was just like excited to try things, and the good thing about that home was I got to try so many things for the first time, basically anything I wanted because I just like was like up for a project every week that was like the theme. But when I moved to the next house, I decided to, like, commit myself to a color scheme. And that’s when we had the teal floor. And I also feel like that’s when I started collecting more stuff that I could keep for the long term. So I think that for me, it made a huge difference in just the way I shop and the longevity of how long I keep things completely changed when I started shopping on a color scheme.

Laura: Yeah, no, it’s really helpful in that sense because just in a room to see the balance of the whole room in one spot, because you can see, if there’s too much of something, not enough of something, if one color is completely overtaking everything else, it’s just really easy to spot that when you can see everything all laid out at once. And if you’re someone who likes to keep your whole house with the same color scheme, that can be really helpful as well, because you can just see everything all laid out, like all the rooms next to each other and and make sure everything feels cohesive and like the same the same person.

Yeah, definitely. I think that’s another thing that is really helpful about it is like finding good balance. So I used to shop and think like I didn’t want to be like neutral things because it seemed like boring to me. So but what happened instead of that was buying like tons and tons of statement stuff that don’t really go together, which is — it’s I guess it’s it’s not boring, but it’s not good. So I think that learning to, like, make those colorful moments like intentional instead of just on random Target buys helped me so much to buy things that I was going to keep for a long time and use in a lot of different ways.

Laura: Yeah, and with the mood board, I mean, it should be pretty easy to see what you’re like statement pieces for the room? So if you have too many things that are all competing for attention, like the mood board will tell you that because you’ll say like this feels cluttered, this feels like too much. I’m not sure where to look even on the mood board. So it helps you kind of pare down to be like this is going to be my statement piece for the room and then everything else can kind of support it.

Elsie: Yeah, absolutely. I think we should now just teach people how to make a simple home mood board. There’s a lot of ways to do it. I’m gonna teach you an easy way and hard way. The way my home mood board looks is it’s a collection of pictures that I found on Pinterest that inspire me. And it kind of includes rooms that have more color and rooms that are more white and includes all the main colors that I’m going for. In this home since it’s a long term home for us, like we think we’ll be here more than ten years, (laughs) I’m so scared of saying stuff like that now. We’ll be here a long time. You know, we’re not planning on moving. I wanted to have a bigger color scheme. Also, it’s a little bit of like a larger home. I didn’t want to have the same color over and over and over in every room. So I actually, like, already feel like I hit my pink limit really quickly and I’m going to branch out from here. I already have, actually. So when you guys see the movie room, you’ll see that I am branching out. But OK, so what I included on my mood board, is there some decor items like cute mug, cute wallpaper. There are some pictures of rooms that inspire me. There’s some tile and some light fixtures. I think that’s like a really good combination of different elements. So then I can just kind of like look at this at a glance and remember like if I’m looking at something and considering buying it, but I’m like, does that fit with what I’m doing? I can quickly reference this one image and pretty much get an idea of whether or not it’ll fit.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I like to actually do Mood Board too, with the like exact items that I’m thinking about, because that’s a really good way to get a preview of what they’re going to look like together. You know, if you don’t have something in mind doing like a general item that you like is great. But if I have what I think I’m going to use, I’ll actually switch that out for the actual item in the mood board so that I can see them all together, which is super helpful.

Elsie: That’s a great idea.

Laura: I’ll kind of pick like. Yeah, like picking and picking the one big item that’s going to be in that room that you’re going to kind of build the room around first I think is a good way to go. And if you’re going to do something like big or expensive, I usually like to do something that’s going to be a little bit more versatile so that I can use it for a long time. So I tend to buy a lot of like white or light wood furniture pieces for that reason, just so I can, like, change everything else around it, and it would still feel fresh or like do a coat of paint at some point if I want to, and it’s good to think about also what other rooms are next to your room. So you could even look at the mood boards for two rooms that are right next to each other or that you can see at the same time, because that’s a good way to make sure like that they’re flowing together. I was like, oh, that type of light fixture and that room, like they go together, OK, that’s great. And it won’t feel disjointed. And then, you know, also using the mood board to plan out your balance of color in a room. So like we have a yellow velvet bed. So it would have been probably not the greatest idea to buy like a yellow rug to go like under the bed because you want the bed to be like the pop of color, you know? So it’s like, OK, I see yellow bed, we’ve got neutral rugs, kind of neutral side table. So that will make the bed kind of be the star of the show there. And then yeah, it’s good for like making sure you kind of have like one fun item for me. That’s like one of my things. I like to have like a checklist in the room, whether that’s like a colorful thing or something whimsical and then making sure that that also helps you with being cohesive for the rest of the house. But you also want it to be a little bit different, right? Every room to be a little bit different. So it gives you that idea of if you lay it all out at all, it all looks good together, but at the same time, like, OK, this is the room that has this in it. This is the room that has that statement wall. And you can find everything that makes each room unique and different as well, too, I think pretty easily.

Elsie: Yeah, those are great suggestions. I think the idea of like remembering like what you’re going to see from a different room is so important, especially when you have any kind of an open space, like that’s why we made our dining room pink, because I really want to do a wallpaper. But then I remembered I was doing a wallpaper already around the fireplace and it’s like that would have been too much. But I can put another one like there’s one you can see if you like, looked down the hallway, you can see the guest room, and then there’s going to be one in the breakfast room. So it’s like there’s like a limit on like how much big things you can have and where. So, yeah, that’s really helpful. So as far as making a mood board, let’s talk about a few different ways to do it. So the ones we’re showing on the blog were definitely made in Photoshop. If you have any kind of , basic Photoshop skills, I promise you you can do this because all that mine are are saving pictures in a folder, adding them to a new blank canvas. And then I add my little dots of color to the bottom with just like a blown up paint brush dot. And that’s all it is. It’s super easy if you don’t have that much skills, another great suggestion is our app, a design kit, because you can select colors in it. You can select fonts, you can add photos — oh maybe if you use Template to make a collage, and then you use a design kit to put the colors on it. That would be a good idea.

Laura: Yeah. Templates great for. Yeah. Putting the photos together really quickly.

Elsie: Yeah. Template is awesome for making collages and then yeah Design Kit, you could add your color scheme if you want to add the little dots of color. I do think it’s really important to plan your color scheme before you start shopping if you can, and it’s not that you have to stick to it 100 percent. But using it as a guide is extremely helpful. If that is even too much for you and you’re like, I don’t want two apps, then the best thing you can do is make Pinterest boards. So I love the idea that Laura was saying about like putting your actual items. So what I do when I’m planning a room is I make a private pin board and then I pin in it like the furniture and stuff, like any items that you can. You can do a similar one if you don’t, you know, it’s not in stock anymore or whatever like and then you can see like your furniture, your rugs, your curtains, your art. You can see it all in one spot together and you can easily change it out and swap it around before you start actually buying things.

Laura: Yeah, and I did. We had like a long drive somewhere because I feel like especially when you’re in the middle of renovating, sometimes you’re like too tired at the end of the day to, like, sit down and do a bunch of online shopping and make mood boards. So we just had a long drive to go somewhere. And I just like screenshoted a bunch of stuff from my Pinterest board for a room and then use the template app to just put them all in there. And then I could easily like see everything at once which stuff out just while I was sitting in the passenger. So it doesn’t have to take a long time.

Elsie: Template has a lot of collage templates where you can add nine photos, which is like my favorite number because it like perfectly fills up the slide with photos. OK, well I hope that that was enough detail. If you’re doing your first mood board, now you know how to make it. If you’re defining your decor style for the first time, I personally don’t think that it is that big of a deal to put a label on your style as much as it is to make yourself a visual reminder of what style you’re aiming for. I think just remembering what style you’re aiming for, especially when you’re shopping, especially when those like mid-price, like bargain finds come around, you know, that can like for me, they can be very distracting and pull me in different directions. When you’re shopping for wallpaper, all of the big decisions like that, like how many times have I switched around my rugs? (laughs)

Laura: Yeah, rugs are great though you can switch them out so easily.

Elsie: If you stay on your color scheme with rugs, you can switch them eternally and it’s wonderful.

Laura: I will say, though, as a side note, there have been times where I didn’t know what color scheme I wanted, so I just like waited until I found a piece that I loved that spoke to me. And then I was like, OK, great, this is the new color scheme now. So I do think it’s nice if you can like to have yours first, but if you’re stuck and you’re just not sure, I think it’s also OK to, like, let it come to you in a way. And when it hits you, like, you’ll know. And you’ll be like, okay.

Elsie: That’s great advice.

Laura: There it is. (laughs)

Elsie: Yeah. Especially if you’re switching it up, you might have to wait until you see, like, a really stunning image or a really inspiring home tour or something that kind of like lights, a little fire in your brain.

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Before we go, let’s do a couple of little segments. So first of all, let’s share something that is sparking joy in our lives right now. I’ll go first. Mine is so random, but it’s it’s really wonderful. OK, so this is for all the toddler moms out there. So if you’re a toddler mom, you’re going to love it. It is Do a Dot Art Markers. And what they are is they’re kind of like — they’re just a marker that has a round kind of like a felt tip and they’re meant to make just dots. And they’re the perfect marker for my three-year-old. She likes to make rainbows with them. We were making out all weekend. So I’m going to show you a picture of our current fridge, which is bonkers with kids art, and you’ll be able to see just what these markers can do. They’re just really cute. And I will link them for you in the show notes. And if you are shopping for a gift for a toddler or if your friend’s having a baby or whatever, these are definitely a winner. Ten out of ten.

Laura: Nice. Are those the paint ones or are they like markers with over with the tip chopped off?

Elsie: They’re markers. Sorry. No, they’re paint. They’re paint with like a little cloth tip. So it’s like kind of just really water you paint in there.

Laura: I saw those this weekend and I was like, oh, should I get these? I don’t know, because we didn’t have anything like that.

Elsie: They’re awesome.

Laura: It seems less messy, too, than like getting out all the paint supplies. Right, to just have like the markers.

Elsie: For sure less messy because we were doing a lot of, like, cardboard cutout art this weekend, like we were doing a dinosaur thing for our fridge, like we redid our whole fridge with dinosaurs. And there’s like different like there’s like fossils and there’s like butterflies and there’s flowers and they use the markers so much. I was really surprised. Like, yeah, there’s so many things that, like art, things that kids get sick of fast. So when you find one that they like want to use for a long time, that’s really a cool thing.

Laura: And sometimes with like if they’re only going to feel they’re going to do it for five minutes to sometimes you don’t want to set up like all the paints, all the easel or whatever. So if they’re just like caps that come off…

Elsie: It’s all true! Yes, it’s like very unmessy.

Laura: So my thing I’ve been loving is a new coffee, actually. So I went to get my hair done for like the first time in forever. And it’s a new salon. I haven’t been there before. New hair girl. And I walk in and sit down and they’re like, oh, do you want anything to drink? You know, water, coffee. And I was like, I’ll just do water. But then later I got a coffee and she brought it over and it was the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life. And I just immediately was like, I’m sorry, excuse me, what is this coffee? And she brought over the bag and I like found it on Amazon, like, they just buy it from Amazon. And I bought a bag like immediately like from the chair. And I love it. Like they also had a really expensive coffeemaker. It’s like called Technivorm I think. And it’s like really fancy coffee maker and this, and that. But even just like at home with my, you know, normal way of doing it is still so good. And it’s like smooth but bold. And it’s not really like acidic, which I know some people like their coffee to have like a little bit of a bite to it, but I don’t I like it really smooth. And so it’s been like, yeah, my little daily, I don’t know, a little piece of joy.

Elsie: Nice! I’m definitely going to try that. Like I’m always looking for a new coffee recommendation.

Laura: And I’m not like a coffee snob, but I don’t always like coffee everywhere I go, so I just happened to really love that one, which is great.

Elsie: Nice. OK, well you sold one. (laugh)

Laura: And actually we went on our honeymoon to Mexico ten years ago and like the coffee that they had there where we were was amazing. And it reminds me of that coffee too. So it’s actually like kind of a little nostalgic thing of like being on our honeymoon and it tastes like that.

Elsie: That’s so sweet. I love a memory taste. Right? So cool.

Laura: Yeah.

Elsie: OK, let’s do a question from our hotline before we go.

Amy: My name is Amy. I’m a nurse calling from California. And my big question is when we first brought our home, we didn’t know what to cover our windows with, so we just went with plantation shutters throughout the whole home. As you might already know, those are really pricey. And now I’m just conflicted. They’re kind of boring. They’re white. They’re in great condition, of course. But I’m wondering, do I hang curtains over it or just leave it as is and try to focus the room on something else? Any kind of advice would be much appreciated. And I love your blog. I’ve been following a long time. Thanks!

Elsie: Hi, Amy. OK, your question is breaking my heart, because as much as I hate to say it, I would maybe keep the plantation shutters if you already have them. And it’s always harder to replace something when you know how much it cost. And I know — we have them in our last home. I know they really are very functional. And like, I agree, like they’re not always as cute as curtains, but they can still be really good looking. I think that you could add curtains over them if it were a big window and if they were going to kind of cover them. But I don’t know if I would like if I was going to add curtains, I would probably remove them. What what do you think, Laura?

Laura: Ok, Amy, here is my thoughts. Maybe just think about how long you’re going to be in the house, because if you’re going to be there for a long time, you might make a different decision than if you’re only going to be there for another year or two. You can kind of live with it and then let the next person deal with it. If you really think you want to switch them out, I know they’re expensive, but you could just do them in like one or two rooms, take them out and do the curtains that you like. Like if you really want that in your bedroom or in your living room, maybe just switch them out in one or two rooms and see how you feel. But yeah, if you don’t think you’d be in the house that long, it might not be worth it. But if this is like your forever home, you’re pretty sure you want to do it. Maybe just do it one room at a time so you don’t have to do the whole thing and feel like you wasted all the money. You’ll still get use out of the other shutters while you’re kind of switching them out as you go.

Elsie: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. Maybe try it in one room before you make your final decision for the whole home. I probably wouldn’t do both of them, though. I would probably choose to leave them or to replace them, but not to put a curtain over them in addition. OK, good luck, Amy. E-mail us and tell us what you decide, because now I’m very curious.

OK, thank you so much for listening. I hope that you’re loving our special summer episodes. Emma will be back in September. So it is a good time for you to send us a request for fall episodes because we are going to be starting to plan those soon. You guys probably aren’t used to doing like planning ahead for fall in the middle of summer like we are. So maybe that wouldn’t sound good to you, but that’s how bloggers think. Anyway, you can email us any time at podcast@abeautifulmess.com And thank you, Laura, for joining us.

Laura: Oh, you’re welcome. It’s fun. Thank you.

Elsie: OK, see you guys next week.

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  • Hi Elise, love love love the pod. Have listened to every episode as as a new first time homeowner this year the design eps are particularly useful and relevant. I’ve followed ABM for years and am from Missouri so have felt particularly connected to you and also love that the podcast has been a spot to share more openly about vulnerable topics. Really appreciated you both sharing about growing up in the evangelical community.

    One piece of feedback/question that came up for me in this episode is whether you all as a company or individuals have put any thought into decolonizing terminology you use. I know words are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to building and fostering a more equitable world but they do have meaning and being inclusive with vocab is a pretty easy change. In this episode I cringed when I heard the term “plantation shutters.” I think this article from AD is an interesting one that acknowledges there are many thoughts on if/how to stop using or acknowledge painful racist or sexist history tied in with the words we as white people have the privilege to use unthinking at times so wondered if you all had discussed and would reconsider use of terms like “plantation.” I think I have noticed that you all have made the switch to using “main bedroom.” Thanks! – Amanda


  • Don’t know if you’ve answered this already, but how do you manage the style from the men in your life? Do they have input or do you have free reign? You mentioned pink dominating your style over the years, was there any push back from your spouses? How do you balance a masculine style and a feminine one? Thanks!

    • Hi! My husband is super chill and just does not care anymore. He cared more earlier on, but now he knows that paint colors are just paint colors and they will come and go. I’m grateful he doesn’t weigh in heavily because it’s a big passion in my life and it’s nice having those decisions to myself.

  • 100 EPISODES!! AMAZING!! I can’t believe you didn’t make a fuss about it!!
    I love Laura, she’s a great compliment to you. (Although I do miss Emma).
    Fun to hear your stories and see your growth in your styles and projects.
    I am finding myself looking at the blog more and more often for DIY projects.
    We are planning on painting bedroom floor – just removed carpet and not ready to make a decision on flooring. So a temporary fix is to pain – ABM here we come!!
    So fun following you guys!! Here’s to 100 more episodes!

  • I’ve always LOVED seeing how y’all remake your homes. They always turn out breathtakingly gorgeous. But there’s just something about that first loft you had Elsie- maybe because that’s when I first started following this blog- that I will always adore.

  • Congrats on the 100th episode! I’m always happy it’s Monday so I can listen to the latest one ^_^ We’re currently in the process of buying our first home, so I re-listened all your home-related episodes for tips, it makes me so excited for what’s to come! Our house is from 1920(!) and the corresponding movie is Treasure Island – love it! We’ve just seen a treasure chest at a second hand shop that caught our attention, what are the odds?! All the best for the podcast and hope you make it to the next 100! Love from Amsterdam, Nienke

    Ps. Not sure calling in questions would work from The Netherlands, but my question is: do you have tips for storing knick-knacks/small souvenirs, etc.? I can see how you would display collections of the same items, but what if the items are all super random with colours that just don’t fit the vibe of a room? Every time I try to display small items, the room look so cluttered! Any tips would be great, as I am a sentimental hoarder that can’t let go of anything, haha! Thank you!

    • Hi Nienke,
      I think a great idea for small items is to display them in built in or a case together, or all on one shelf. I think grouping can help a lot.

      Thank you so much for listening!

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