Lauren Taylor

Interior Stylist

Portland, OR

+1 971 217 8404

Mad About Wallpaper

Wallpaper has come a long way over the decades and I for one am thrilled to see this explosive comeback!

Not only have the designs been upgraded in a BIG way, but the placement options have grown; becoming virtually limitless.

ceiling, courtesy of Apartment Therapy

If you are looking to add some flair to your home, be sure to visit Manolo Walls, located in Sellwood. Locally owned and operated by wallpaper connoisseur Nelli Pavlenko, this place is where design dreams come true (or at least some serious design-geeking out).

Manolo Walls

Renting? Can’t put wallpaper up where you currently live? Be sure to look into Wall Decals; they offer a similar look, with less commitment. Just stick on, and peel off when you’re done.

Like what you see but not sure where to start? Reach out! 

Three Options for Modern Color Palettes

Recently I have seen a growth in clients looking to trade their current style, for more modern look. Whether it’s a big life change or just one big move, people are leaping into the world of modern design. In an effort to support you in your leap, below are a few thoughts on selecting Modern Color Palettes.

Please note: The palette variations below are speaking specifically to classic modern design (no mid century, boho, or the like, just clean, modern design). So if you are drawn to sleek, clean lines, sharp design, and a play on empty, open spaces, read on.

Three easy options for a modern color palette:

First things first, modern design does not mean Grey palettes and only grey palettes. Many newcomers to the style have the preconceived notion that modern design means only grey, white, or black palettes; but this isn’t the case.

Option 1: Only Neutrals
Ok... let me back track. Because, yes of course, if all-grey or all-white and black is what your heart desires, go for it!
This style is best accentuated with minimal ornamentation and accents of texturally (or lack-of-texturally) interesting items, such as large mirrors and metallic objects (goods or furniture).

*If you are looking for a softer look, throw in wooden and/or fabric-upholstered pieces.

*If you want to harden the look, go with leather-upholstered pieces and metal frames.

Option 2: All neutrals + one accent color
This is one of the easiest tricks in the book: you can kick those neutrals up a notch, by tying in one accent color. Don’t worry too much about what color it is, so long as it brings you joy and you maintain it as the uniform color in your space.
You may bring the color in through furniture, art, or the like.

Option 3: Color
Bringing color into a modern space is all about playing up the use of space and lines. So long as the space maintains an overall minimal feel; aka that it lacks much ornamentation (knick knacks, too many frames, too many textures, etc.) you will have plenty of visual-space for color. Also, you want to be sure that the colorful pieces provide sharp, straight lines.

Soap & Water

Clients regularly ask me how to clean their furniture/upholstered items and I always have one simple answer: soap & water. The idea is simple, environmentally sound, and will keep your furniture lasting longer.

Think about it: looking at your cleaning products right now, how many would you feel comfortable inhaling up-close? Probably not too many, and the fact is that if you don’t want to inhale it, neither does your furniture. The chemicals in most commercialized cleaning products are very harsh on surfaces. And while this type of wear is something you won’t notice right away, it is something that will eat away at your furniture much more quickly than alternatively using gentle soap and water.

A MIXTURE OF 1 OUNCE OF YOUR FAVORITE DISH DETERGENT PER GALLON OF WARM WATER WILL DO THE TRICK FOR MOST CLEAN UPS

SO GRAB YOUR BUCKET….

 

…A GENTLE DISH SOAP..  

…A GENTLE DISH SOAP..

 

WHITE SCRUBBING TOWELS (so as to not bleed any color)..  

WHITE SCRUBBING TOWELS (so as to not bleed any color)..

 

AND SCRUB AWAY! If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out via the connect page.

AND SCRUB AWAY!

If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out via the connect page.

Decorating with Houseplants

In the Pacific Northwest we love our greens: We eat green, we hike green, we live green. So why wouldn’t our homes be green too? Not only do plants add vibrancy to a space, but they help us breathe, help us heal, and aide in our personal growth.* Plus, there’s the added bonus of keeping the dang thing alive, and luckily most houseplants are pretty easy to maintain: Water once a week, give it a touch of sunlight (or gray sky, since we must) and call it good. Greens for Thought: • Succulents: These fellas come in many shapes and sizes. Blend together for a larger collection, or use in sets of one or two to add smaller touches here and there.

In the Pacific Northwest we love our greens: We eat green, we hike green, we live green. So why wouldn’t our homes be green too? Not only do plants add vibrancy to a space, but they help us breathe, help us heal, and aide in our personal growth.*

Plus, there’s the added bonus of keeping the dang thing alive, and luckily most houseplants are pretty easy to maintain: Water once a week, give it a touch of sunlight (or gray sky, since we must) and call it good.

Greens for Thought:

• Succulents: These fellas come in many shapes and sizes. Blend together for a larger collection, or use in sets of one or two to add smaller touches here and there.

• Cacti/Cactus: Ok, maybe don’t go this route if you have kids or curious pets (they will poke you). But if you aren’t worried about any collisions, this is an ideal option. Great for homeowners/renters who travel often and/or don’t spend much time at home. This plant is beyond low-maintenance and available in a wide variety of sizes. From large floor Cacti to a teeny-tiny-baby-cactus, this plant is as versatile as they come.

• Cacti/Cactus: Ok, maybe don’t go this route if you have kids or curious pets (they will poke you). But if you aren’t worried about any collisions, this is an ideal option. Great for homeowners/renters who travel often and/or don’t spend much time at home. This plant is beyond low-maintenance and available in a wide variety of sizes. From large floor Cacti to a teeny-tiny-baby-cactus, this plant is as versatile as they come.

• Floor Plants: Palms and Rubber Plants are a personal favorite, but there are endless styles to choose from. They are readily available at places like Home Depot and even Ikea – but don’t forget about the local options as well.

• Floor Plants: Palms and Rubber Plants are a personal favorite, but there are endless styles to choose from. They are readily available at places like Home Depot and even Ikea – but don’t forget about the local options as well.

Final Touch:
• The Vase, The Pot, The-pretty-thing-you-put-your-plant-in; Don’t forget about that, Because that can make or break the plant. This is where you can either make a statement, or glue an overall look together.

Get creative: this succulent was planted inside an Old Book…. uh, like, #KeepPortlandWeird, People.  

Get creative: this succulent was planted inside an Old Book…. uh, like, #KeepPortlandWeird, People.  

Simple and chic: a clay pot, placed in a fitted white bowl creates a simply undone look in this ethereal space.

Simple and chic: a clay pot, placed in a fitted white bowl creates a simply undone look in this ethereal space.

Pop: Yellow vases against this black, minimalist space, offer a playful touch.

Pop: Yellow vases against this black, minimalist space, offer a playful touch.

Black is the new Black: Dark vases always give a bold touch, and the juxtaposition of this dark against light, offers a powerful punch.

Black is the new Black: Dark vases always give a bold touch, and the juxtaposition of this dark against light, offers a powerful punch.

Compliment: Red and Green are complimentary colors, so when in doubt, know that red will always provide a flattering “Pow!” Good luck, God Speed, and just know, there is no such thing as a green thumb. There’s practice, there’s luck, and that’s it. You can do it. *For more information on the health benefits of indoor plants click here

Compliment: Red and Green are complimentary colors, so when in doubt, know that red will always provide a flattering “Pow!”

Good luck, God Speed, and just know, there is no such thing as a green thumb.

There’s practice, there’s luck, and that’s it. You can do it.

*For more information on the health benefits of indoor plants click here

Picture Wall Round Deux: Free Printables

Picture walls have been on my mind since last week's post so I wanted to share a new idea and some matching freebies with you this week! 

Short of living under a rock, you have likely seen the use of letters to accent and accessorize walls, bookshelves, bedrooms, and so on...

Maybe you've even tried out a wall like this yourself, but have you tried decorating with numbers instead?  For the most part, decorators use letters to represent the initials of a person or family, but when using numbers, there is a bit more ambiguity.  For example, here are the numbers I'm looking to play with in my own home: 2 7 4 Ambiguous, right? Now here is what they mean to me: 2 - number of people living in my home 7 - my birth date, 7/7 has made 7 a lucky number for me 4 - I actually do have a favorite number, and it's 4, I like how it multiplies and divides... Fun Fact: I was really into math as a kid, and it's really stuck with me. Below are some free printables to get you started. So pick a number, frame it, and tack it up on the wall/bookshelf/dresser/you-name-it and, ta da! you're a decorator. To access the image: click on it and when the new screen pops up, right click and select "save image." If you have any issues or would prefer a black and white image, feel free to email me and I'll help you out. 

Maybe you've even tried out a wall like this yourself, but have you tried decorating with numbers instead? 

For the most part, decorators use letters to represent the initials of a person or family, but when using numbers, there is a bit more ambiguity. 

For example, here are the numbers I'm looking to play with in my own home:

2
7
4

Ambiguous, right? Now here is what they mean to me:

2 - number of people living in my home
7 - my birth date, 7/7 has made 7 a lucky number for me
4 - I actually do have a favorite number, and it's 4, I like how it multiplies and divides... Fun Fact: I was really into math as a kid, and it's really stuck with me.

Below are some free printables to get you started. So pick a number, frame it, and tack it up on the wall/bookshelf/dresser/you-name-it and, ta da! you're a decorator.

To access the image: click on it and when the new screen pops up, right click and select "save image." If you have any issues or would prefer a black and white image, feel free to email me and I'll help you out. 

Picture Wall: Chic Design Hack with Paper

Following a trip to Paper Source this week (one of my absolute favorite shops to get lost in) I was reminded of an awesome design hack. Here is the formula:

Picture frame + Beautiful Paper = Inexpensive, Chic, Art

If you've spent any amount of time on Pinterest or Houzz, you have seen the amazing picture walls that have gained popularity in recent years. 

 

Picture wall 3.jpg

So here's the hack: instead of using photographs, use paper. You can fill all your frames with paper, or do a mix of photographs and paper. There is no maximum or minimum to the frames you can use, maybe it's 3, maybe it's 30, just play around with it and have fun!

For inspiration, below are a few of the papers I picked up yesterday:

Furniture Questions: Where should I Splurge and where can I Save?

Let’s start by asking a better question: why was furniture invented in the first place?

Often we get so wrapped up in the look of our furniture, or overall design, that we forget about the basic purpose. Furniture is here because someone, at some point, decided that they were sick of sitting on the floor all the time…. and they were sick of eating off the floor…. and working on the floor... And, well, sleeping on the floor. So, enter: furniture.

With function in mind, ask yourself: what do I need from my furniture?

Here’s the deal: If you’re going to sit on it or sleep on it, splurge. The number one consideration for anything your tush is resting on should be comfort and sustainability. These are the pieces that support YOU and, depending on how you invest, will either leave you feeling great, or will leave you aching. So invest in your dining chairs, desk chair, bed, sofa, bar stools, lounge chairs, and so on; because these pieces have to support you, literally.

Save on the rest: The furniture that your body doesn’t require physical assistance from, is where you may look to save. Coffee Tables, Dining Tables, Bookshelves, and so on; these pieces only have to support your things, and since “things” don’t have feelings (let alone a complicated skeletal system) you don’t need to worry as much about them.

One Caveat: anything that requires a complicated mechanism, things like extendable dining tables or soft-close dressers, are worth the considering the investment. There is no point in saving on mechanisms that are going to break down after one year of use (just in time for the warranty to expire).

Design Advice: What to do before you go Furniture Shopping

Furniture shopping can be a confusing, mystifying, misadventure for far too many shoppers; but it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation and understanding of the market, your next trip can be pain free (or at least, less painful).

1. Measure: This one may seem obvious, but it is all too often forgotten. Whenever you find yourself thinking that you need a new X, Y, or Z for your space, get out the measuring tape and jot that information down, or better yet, plug it into your phone. This way, you have the information on hand for the next time you are out.

2. Take Photos: The staff at most furniture stores are excited to help you and are often designers themselves. Having that visual on hand will help them, help you, find out not only if it will physically fit, but also if it will be a cohesive look with all things considered (scale, texture, coloring, and so on).

3. Find out what your spouse/partner/roommate wants: One of the biggest issues you will run into while shopping is finding out that you and your partner want different things (in design, that is).

Let’s say that you want to fill a hole in your living room; you have decided that a blue velvet sofa would be perfection, but your loved one thinks that black leather chairs are the better choice… This is the type of information that is best learned outside of the store.

Before you step in the door, be sure that you and your partner have had a talk about what direction you are going in, as well as where you both are, and are not, willing to budge. Certainly you can’t know everything before you go shopping, but it’s good to have an idea of what you’re getting into.

4. Know that it will take a few trips: Very rarely will you walk into a furniture store, see the exact piece you want, and take it home that day. In general, you will come in, check out samples and/or products, take them home, see how they look, come back, check out new samples, and repeat. Then, once you have worked through this process a couple times, you will be ready to place an order.

5. Understand lead times: Good things come to those who wait, and I’d add that the right things come to those who wait. The right size, the right finish; you want to get-it-right. Furniture is an investment that has the ability to transform how live and work, and it is important to be precise. So be sure that you shop with the knowledge that all lines have lead times, ranging anywhere from two weeks to six months.

Tip: If you are on a time crunch, ask the sales people what their lead times are and they can direct you to only the products within your timeline.

6. Get comfortable: Shopping for the right thing takes time, there really is no way around it. As I’ve mentioned, quality furniture is an investment (an investment worth making) and it will take effort to learn about the products and then select what is right for you. So slip on your best kicks and get ready to do a lot of standing, sitting, walking, and talking.

7. Feed yourself: Do not shop on an empty stomach. It only leads to unhappy decisions made by unhappy shoppers. Need I say more?

One final bit of advice: once you do get into the store, ask questions. The staff is there because they enjoy designing spaces and want to help you. They will gladly educate you on the lines and are generally excited to learn about your specific needs. Look at the staff as your crew of problem-solvers; they do this all day, every day, and they are experts. So let them, help you, make the perfect selection to fit your needs.

If you are looking for somewhere to have your next furniture shopping trip, be sure to visit me at Hip Furniture, here in Portland.

Design Advice: The 80/20 Balance

Unless you have recently sold everything you own, moved to a new place, and shopped for furniture at only one shop, it's safe to say that your home, along with every other home in the western world, is made up of a variety of interior design styles:

Traditional with modern... Scandinavian with mid-century modern and Industrial...Contemporary with Bohemian... Farmhouse with shabby chic and nautical... Or, all of the above (and then some.. you know who you are).

But why is it that some of us wind up with homes looking like attics, packed to the brim with things that we love, and an utter lack of cohesion? While others end up with these impossibly chic spaces pouring out with style and grace?

There are a number of things to address when mixing styles, but today I just want to introduce you to what I call The 80/20 Balance: This balance is a simple rule of thumb, suggesting that you select two main styles for your home; one being the dominant, 80% of your home, while the other be sort of your accent look, highlighting only 20% of your space.

So let's say you have a traditional home, but you've found yourself evolving toward more modern design. There is no need to throw out everything you already have, just work your way toward replacing 20% of the traditional pieces, to modern ones.

Another example would be if, say, your home is more of a 40-30-10-20% blend (and is coming off more like that “attic” style I described earlier) this is where you need to have a chat with yourself about what is working and what isn't. Like, what style makes you feel most at home? What pieces are the most physically comfortable for you? Do you have this blend because you really love everything here? Or have you just not taken the time to go through it? And from here, I would encourage you to choose your main style, your 80%. Then play around with the 20% and I bet that after a little thought, you may just surprise yourself at how quickly you find your balance.

Of course, this balance is just a rule of thumb. Does this mean your home can't be a stunning 40-30-10-20% or a simple 100%? Absolutely not. But if you aren't finding cohesion in your space right now, ask yourself, what is my percentage?

Design Advice: Blending Leather vs. Fabric

One of the most common design questions I get asked is a selection of the following:

“Can I mix Leather with Leather?”

“Can I mix Fabric with Fabric?”

“Can I mix Leather with Fabric?”

First off, the answer is yes, to all the above, yes. But as I am sure you are painfully aware, not all upholstery goes together.
Green sometimes goes with white, and sometimes it doesn’t. Tweed sometimes goes with stripes, and sometimes… it definitely doesn’t.

To help guide you, here are two key points worth considering when selecting upholstery combinations:

• Undertone: For example, if you have a Grey leather sofa, you musn’t feel the need to pair everything else in the room in the exact same grey leather (gone are the days of the matching sofa sets). Rather, look at the grey and find out what kind of grey it is. Is it a warm grey or a cool grey? If it’s warm, perhaps there are some soft browns you could bring in; and if it’s a cool grey, you may be better suited with something in the ice-white family.

• Texture: Imagine your living room as an ocean. A big, beautiful, shimmering ocean; and now add a mountain range, and some trees. Each unique addition to the landscape highlights and balances out the other elements, ultimately creating one cohesive image.
Translating this into design terms: the ocean is your furniture (you with me?) So if you have all leather, or all one texture of fabric, it can come off a bit dull or washed out. But you throw in a tree (new texture) or some mountains (other texture) and bam! you have a well curated, well balanced space. Keep in mind that texture may sometimes be added with accents such as pillows or blankets, but no matter how you achieve it, it must always be considered.

In design, rules are more like loose guidelines, guidelines which are meant to be broken. It seems that the moment a rule is put out there, designers pull together and break it in the most beautiful way.

With that said, if you are just getting your sea legs in design, and would like a rule of thumb for upholstery blending: When in doubt, go with the blend of fabric and leather (or leather alternative), this rule is foolproof in achieving effortless combinations.