Build an Inspiring Writing Space (on a Writer’s Budget)

Creating a chic work space in the home doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, you can accomplish color, comfort, and style with just a few key pieces. These six picks do just that.

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Start with a desk. It’ll set the tone for the entire scene.

Add a bold color. Seasonally appropriate burnt orange is our space’s eye candy.

Accent with personality. Ornate mirrors, travel maps – choose décor that speaks to you.

Our Arrange & Rearrange: Furniture Under $300 Boutique opens Wednesday, August 28, at 3PM ET.

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August 28, 2013

5 Personality-Packed Pieces for a Relaxed Home

Because every haven can use some personal touches

For me, the home is so much more than just a place to eat and sleep. It’s where I can unwind in full and regain my sanity after a long, busy day. And that means it needs to be full of personal touches and creature comforts. Call it a result of my upbringing, but I can’t imagine living in a place that feels stiff. Give me a comfy homestead instead of cookie-cutter one any day.

So forget the pages of that catalog. Instead, opt for some of these pieces, sure to pack your home with comfort and personality that’s undeniably yours.

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Our The Stylishly Lived-In Home Boutiques open Wednesday, March 13, at 3PM ET.

By Anna Kuchinsky, Staff Writer

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March 13, 2013

Rue Road Test: Holiday Twig Mobile

It’s a fact: I don’t have room for a Christmas tree in my tiny studio. So, I thought I’d compensate by making a tree-oriented home decoration. Supplies are somewhat hard to come by in the city, so I was forced to go foraging through the park. Apparently, scouring the ground and carrying a bundle of twigs in your arms warrants strangers looking at you like you’re the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2, so after I found a few good ones, I called it quits and retreated to my apartment to see what I could make of my findings.

With the help of fishing line, some paint, and the Glee Christmas soundtrack, I created my holiday twig mobile. Here’s how:

What you’ll need:
• 3 – 6 twigs in varying sizes
• Acrylic paint (metallic or colored)
• Paintbrush
• Fishing line

Directions:
1.
Collect an array of twigs in varied sizes. I suggest choosing ones with several small branches for a more interesting visual effect.
2. Paint each twig the color of your choice and allow to dry. (I used an off-white base then finished the tips with gold spray paint.) Paint them all a different color, or go the enchanting metallic route.
3. Lay them out on the floor as you would like them positioned in the mobile, descending in size from top to bottom.
4. Cut a piece of fishing line and tie to both ends of the top stick. Make sure it’s long enough to have a little slack to use as a hanger.
5. For convenience and to achieve the right balance, hang this section up before you continue.
6. Decide whether you want your mobile to hang down straight or to spin (mine hangs straight). Then, start by tying one piece of line to each end of the first stick.
6A. Straight mobile: Connect the loose ends to the lower sticks like rungs of a ladder.
6B. Spinning mobile: Tie the loose ends around the mid-section of the stick below.
7. Continue to connect your sticks in this fashion, adding as many sticks as you like (as long as the mobile stays balanced).

By Grace Romanowsky of Valenki By ACE, Staff Writer

How did your road test fare? Share it in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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December 6, 2012

Prep Your Holiday Table: DIY Napkin Rings

Planning ahead is the key to breezing your way through the holiday season. Once you’ve decided on your plates, serveware, and menu, it’s time to set the table – and crafting your own napkin rings is a simple and fun way to add personality and style.

Prep Your Holiday Table: DIY Napkin Rings

Photos courtesy of Miki Duisterhof via Eddie Ross (left, right) and Heather Rowley via The Creative Patch (middle).

Bold Texture
You can create a variation on these ribbon napkin rings to spruce up white or cream linens. Coordinate with your holiday table’s colors when you select your ribbon, trim, and burlap, and add buttons, lace, or vintage jewelry. If you love the idea of crafting with jewelry as much as I do, Eddie Ross’s vintage brooch napkin rings will help you outfit your tablescape in luxurious, textured style.

Thanksgiving Harvest
Bring a harvest feel to your Thanksgiving dinner table with acorn napkin rings. All you need is a drill with a tiny bit, some thin craft wire, and about ten acorns per place setting. Pair the rings with red or orange cloth napkins, then add acorns to your centerpiece to complete the rustic feel. You can also use some ribbon and a pearl for a different take on the same idea.

Holiday Hosting
As the go-to host, head into dinner-party season armed with festive wreath napkin rings. The small grapevine wreaths and holiday-hued ribbon should be available at any craft store. If your color scheme is more winter-themed – white, blue, or silver – try these jingle bell napkin rings to combine whimsy and class.

For the kids’ table, you can’t go wrong with Santa belt napkin rings – and they come with the added benefit of enticing youngsters with an arts and crafts project at the kitchen table while you baste the turkey or carve the holiday ham.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer 

What’s your favorite holiday-table DIY project? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala. 

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November 7, 2012

Upgrade Your Space: Home Sweet Hotel

The hotel stay is one of the best, but often overlooked, parts of travel or vacationing. After a long day of sightseeing, soaking up rays, or networking at a conference, there’s nothing better than returning to a clean, stylish hotel room and slipping cozily between fresh sheets.

It’s not difficult to come home to such comfort in daily life. Besides completing the obvious (yet easy-to-neglect) basic household chores, use these tips to recapture that pristine hotel feeling – without getting on a plane.

Basic, Neutral Linens
Outfit your bed with a neutral or white duvet and sheets. Stick to the basics, and your bedroom will feel bright, neat, and inviting – three major perks of the hotel vibe. Also, stock your bathroom with tidy, matching towels to keep it looking immaculate.

Lots (And We Mean Lots) Of Pillows
Though I shove aside at least half the pillows on hotel beds before catching Zs, I appreciate their chic, classy appearance. Mix it up with varying (but complementary) sizes, textures, and patterns for a serious bedroom upgrade.

Furniture Reboot
To give your space a grand, serene appearance, invest in a large armoire and conceal your TV inside. Or, consider placing a pedestal table and chairs in a corner of your bedroom – it’s much more relaxing to take in the morning paper and a coffee when you’re lounging in comfort.

Fresh Flowers
Immediately brighten up any room by adding a vase of fresh flowers (or a living plant – white orchids are my favorite) to your nightstand or tabletop. Though this is easier in spring and summer, mums are a welcome treat during the off-season.

Pint-Sized Goodies
Who doesn’t love those adorable mini lotions and pillow chocolates? Pick up a few fancy travel-sized shampoo and conditioner bottles for guests to use – or just to switch up your tub décor. Keep the chocolates in a crystal dish (rather than on your pillow) to add sparkle and class.

Get started on hotel-ing out your home and visit The Rue Sleep-In: Whit & Alex, Villa 408, & coza Boutique, opening Tuesday, October 23, at 8PM ET.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

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October 22, 2012

Rue How-To: Wine Cork Décor

As it turns out, those empty bottles of Malbec adorning my kitchen windowsill serve a higher (and more aesthetically pleasing) purpose.  I have two words for you: home décor. From monogrammed wine cork letters to wine cork bulletin boards, there are a ton of ways to turn the remnants of wine night with the girls into eye-catching home accessories.

What you’ll need:

  1. A wooden monogrammed letter of your choice or a bulletin board
  2. A glue gun or glue sticks
  3. A razor blade
  4. A drinking buddy (let’s face it – that’s a lot of legwork to accomplish solo). If you’d rather not waste time or money building up your cork collection, you can order them online or check out a local craft store.


Steps:

  1. Before you start gluing, organize your corks on the letter frame to figure out which sizes best fit the dimensions of the letter or bulletin board (just beware of the domino effect).
  2. As you’re organizing, make sure that any corks featuring a unique graphic are facing out.
  3. Once you have the corks laid out, glue them on to the wooden letter or bulletin board. Contrary to the timeless piece of wisdom that cautions against mixing your alcohol, don’t be afraid to combine different colored corks.
  4. Using the razor blade, quarter a few corks and use these pieces to fill in any gaps.
  5. Place the finished product on a mantel, bookcase, or other focal point where it’ll be sure to catch the attention of houseguests.


By Lauryn Paiva
, Staff Writer

Recycled your wine bottles into cool home décor? Share your how-to in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala

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October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Fest: Three New Ways to Display the Seasonal Staple

Photo credits: bugaboo, mini, mr & me, Under the Table and Dreaming, and  Happy Mundane

I’d never dream of advising you to forgo the season’s requisite candy corns and pumpkin micro-brews, but I, for one, plan to add a few new recipes and unexpected decor upgrades to my fall favorites list this year.

Rather than embark on an overambitious carving endeavor (last year, I tried to carve an octopus swallowing a tall ship), I’m opting to put my fashion knowledge into play and accessorize this, well, red-headed cousin of squash, with some of the season’s “it” trends.

Decoupage
Big in decorative home accents, this technique is the art of applying paper cutouts and then coating with several layers of finish. Use tissue paper, newspaper, magazine cutouts, and liberal amounts of Modge Podge to create your own en vogue pumpkin, as seen in Country Living.

Studding
This hot trend isn’t just for shoes and handbags. Paint your pumpkin a solid white or black base then embellish it with silver thumb tacks to give it some of that “grit and glamour” look.

Colorblocking
How seriously rad do these colorblocked neon, grey, and white pumpkins look? I’ve never wanted to accessorize a fruit with a pair of heels… until now (and yes, pumpkin is a fruit!).

First decoupage pumpkin didn’t turn out well? Before you do anything hasty, remember there are lots of super-tasty recipes for both the seeds and the pumpkin itself. Obvious go-to’s would be pumpkin pie and baked seeds for snacking, but these pumpkin dumpling and pumpkin seed smoothie recipes are healthy and unexpected takes that I can’t wait to try out.

By Grace Romanowsky, Staff Writer

Do you have a unique way to decorate fall’s favorite fruit? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala.

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September 22, 2012