Kim R. McCormick

Kim has been sharing creative projects and ideas as a Contributor to Apartment Therapy since 2010. Her writing highlights stylish, budget-friendly solutions to common household problems. Kim is a fluent French speaker and a houseplant enthusiast.
For Your Inspiration Board: Dark Nurseries & Kids’ Rooms
Colorful walls are cheerful, and light walls can be peaceful, but I think dark walls are soothing and cozy. Those two adjectives sound just right for a little one’s room. I’ve recently transitioned a guest bedroom with an almost-black accent wall to serve as a nursery. Although for a minute I thought the existing color might seem overwhelming or unhappy, I quickly realized it was a soothing and yet modern backdrop for baby. (Photos to come, once I finish the room!) TOP ROW 1.
Jun 10, 2014
Before & After: Kim’s Nursery Dresser
My parents bought this dresser over 30 years ago, but that doesn’t exactly make it an heirloom. It’s very sturdy, but the wood isn’t anything special, the drawers fronts needed patching, and the sides are veneer. The price tag sold me: free. To update the dresser, the first thing I did was use a jigsaw to cut off the scallop-y business at the bottom. (I wish I had a picture of me, eight months pregnant, wielding that tool.
May 8, 2014
10 Neutral (But Not Boring) Rugs
When I’m shopping for clothes, I often look for tops that will go with a lot of outfits without just being a white T-shirt. I want something versatile but still a little interesting. The same could be said for the perfect rug. While they’re all in neutral colors, each of these options works for its own reason. Some have interesting texture, and others introduce just a tiny bit of another color.
Apr 24, 2014
Banishing My Phone from The Bedside: The Results, One Month Later
About four weeks ago, I declared that I was going to stop keeping my iPhone at my side overnight. I’m happy to say that I’ve stuck with the plan, and the results have been positive across the board. First, thanks to everyone who expressed support for the idea. Telling you about the plan and knowing I wanted to report back were key in getting me to stick to it.
Apr 17, 2014
From Blush to Bold: Rooms with Pink Furniture
Every spring I seem to reconsider how I feel about pink; that is, April and its blossoms remind me of the color’s merits. Whether you’re someone who likes the color all 12 months of the year or somebody less convinced that it deserves attention, take a peek at how different shades could work for the furniture in your home. While I love the first image, I generally prefer the use of pink when it’s a little unexpected. (After all, hot pink is not a color for playing it safe.
Apr 11, 2014
5 Simple Ways to Make Your Home a Haven
Lately my day job, combined with being almost seven months pregnant, is leaving me pretty tired by 5 p.m. I’ve been thinking more and more about what makes my home a comfortable place to be — something anyone can relate to. Here are some of our best tips for making your home a cozy place that you’re always happy to come home to. 1. Diversify lighting. I’m a proponent of having three points of light in a room.
Apr 8, 2014
Hop to It: Bunny-Themed Art & Decor
Now that the start of spring is seeming like a meteorological reality and not just a date on the calendar, my mind has turned to budding flowers, chirping birds, and fluffy bunnies. This list celebrates the latter, including one or two childhood classics. TOP ROW: 1. Bunny rabbit photography by K Purol Art Prints, $26 for 8×10 2. Bunny lamp by Suck UK on Amazon, $90.61 3. Black bunny rabbit print by Matou en peluche, $17 for A4 4.
Apr 3, 2014
Vertical Gardening: 9 Great Vines & Hanging Plants
My city backyard includes two unattractive walls that I’d like to see covered in greenery this summer. I’ve started some research into plants that will grow up and down to beautify the space, and here are eight options I’ve found. TOP ROW: 1. A little inspiration: a lighted trellis provides support to vines growing on Leah & Matt’s Enviable Rooftop Oasis. 2.
Mar 28, 2014
Making as Meditation: Why I Craft
Last weekend I had the crazy idea to dedicate many hours to turning a bunch of construction paper, cupcake baking cups, wire, and pipe cleaners into something resembling flowers. I did it for the end result, sure (I had promised them to people), but so much of it was about the process. I’ve always been an arts and crafts dabbler, including a period in 2006 and 2007 where I was an Etsy seller rather than just a rabid Etsy window-shopper.
Mar 14, 2014
Top 6 Do’s: Things to Try for a Good Night’s Sleep
I am about six months pregnant; while there are a lot of things I’d like, there’s one big one I need: sleep. Here are a few things I find essential to getting a good night’s rest. 1. To sleep better, turn down your thermostat. It’s science, friends. Studies suggest your room be around 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This same link, from The New York Times, points to another study showing that insomniacs have warmer core body temperatures just before bed. 2. Know thyself.
Mar 12, 2014
Goodbye, Big Blank Walls: Large-Scale Solutions
Having a blank canvas to work with is fun, but when it’s really big, that can be a bit of a challenge. First there’s the question of just what you might want to put up there that’s the right size, and then there’s the question of how to do it affordably. Here are some of our favorite fixes for big, blank walls. 1. Architectural salvage elements: Salvaged elements such as shutters are big and have lots of character.
Mar 5, 2014
Start from Seed: Tips to Grow Your Garden Cheaply
Last year, I spent a bunch of money on annuals and perennials for my small backyard plot. This year, I’ve vowed to be more like my dad, who always jump-starts his garden indoors (see above). To that end, I’ve bought some flower seeds and begun my research. Costs add up quickly at nurseries, and the savings of seeds versus plants is obvious. The five flower seed packets I bought, including low-fuss zinnias and bachelor’s button, cost $10 and change.
Feb 20, 2014
Best of Both Worlds: Stylish & Organization Toy Storage
A mixture of storage options can help you avoid having toys constantly underfoot. Here are 10 good-looking solutions for corralling dolls, Legos, stuffed animals, and more. Bins, whether they stand alone or in cubbies, are the most straightforward way to corral toys. In the latter case, an outsider wouldn’t even know there are toys in there. To clear floor space, try a swing for stuffed animals.
Feb 14, 2014
Smart Solution for the Everyman Cave: Hide Your TV with Dark Walls
One of the best decisions I’ve made in decorating my home has been choosing a dark paint color for the room where my husband and I watch (a lot of) TV. These five homes that show how the look and feel can work in other living rooms too. In addition to minimizing your TV’s presence when the lights are on, a dark wall color creates a cozy feel. The color doesn’t have to be black — deep blue greens (Images 1 and 5) work well too.
Feb 13, 2014
Gallery Wall Inspiration: 10 Examples of Frames Hung on a Grid
This past weekend I visited a local museum and saw, among lots of cool things, a particularly good-looking group of identically framed art hung on a grid. While I generally like more casual, organically organized gallery walls, lately I’ve been finding more and more symmetrical examples that I like. This kind of arrangement can easily be more traditional or, depending what you frame, can be a nice way to bridge preferences for more than one style.
Feb 7, 2014
5 Simple Ways to Make Your Bedroom Feel New
You don’t have to give a room a full-on makeover to make it feel new. In fact, a few simple and free or very cheap tactics can quickly refresh a space — including your bedroom. 1. Clean your sheets. Nestling in between freshly laundered sheets is probably the easiest and cheapest way to feel like you’re in a new room. If you’re feeling fancy, try adding some homemade linen spray. 2. Make your bed.
Jan 23, 2014
For Your Inspiration Board: Calm & Comfortable Neutral Bedrooms
With these frigid temperatures, I want to spend more and more time warm in bed (begone, polar vortex!). While I generally love a good dose of color, winter whites of the non-snow variety are very appealing to me right now. These bedrooms are neutral but not boring because they use texture (the rugs, pillows, and blankets in images 2 and 3) and shine (the mercury glass lamps and silvery pillows in image 1) wisely. 1.
Jan 13, 2014
Better than Resolutions: A Realistic S.M.A.R.T. Way to Get Things Done at Home This Year
Like most people, I’ve never had much luck sticking to any resolutions I make at the beginning of the year. But if you break things down, all January Cure style, you can settle on goals you’ll really achieve. Last week, reading a post on Style by Emily Henderson about her New Year’s resolutions reminded me of something nerdy I never thought I’d associate with cool design(ers) or my home. At my most recent day jobs, I’ve had to set “S.M.A.R.T” objectives.
Jan 10, 2014
One Simple Way to Keep Your Bedroom More Organized This Year
When I got back to Baltimore after a long holiday visit with family, my bedroom greeted me with its disarray. The issue? Clothes everywhere. I am only good about putting clean laundry away if I do it when the clothes are fresh out of the dryer; otherwise, they sit in the basket in my bedroom. My husband, who does his own laundry, completely avoids putting his clean clothes away entirely.
Jan 3, 2014
High & Low: Mirrored Consoles & Side Tables for Every Budget
Mirrored accents are just the thing to add a little bling to a room. Mixed with other textures, reflective side tables and consoles add a dose of refinement. Here are some options in a range of prices. TOP ROW: 1. Foxed mirror console from West Elm, $549 2. Threshold mirrored modern accent table from Target, $99 3. Square iron and glass Newman side table from Lamps Plus, $540.91 4. Plum & Bow Libby side table from Urban Outfitters, $149 5. Mirror and rust side table from Lamps Plus, $99.
Dec 20, 2013
Clay Crafts: 10 DIY Projects to Keep or Give as Gifts
This first project inspired me to add some air-dry modeling clay to my craft supplies. That arsenal includes many years’ worth of odds and ends, and I don’t want the remaining clay to go unused. So I’ve found nine other projects that I’m sharing with you and that you can pass on as gifts. TOP ROW: 1. Clay leaf bowls by Urban Comfort 2. Mini kids’ clay pots by Say Yes to Hoboken 3. Garden markers by Wit Whistle 4. DIY pottery by What Katie Does 5.
Oct 24, 2013
Tell Us: Which Way Does Your Desk Face?
Reading the comments after Christina’s closet-turned-office space post on Monday, I found some discussion about facing the wall while you work. If you have a desk at home, do you prefer to face the room or have your back to it? What about windows and doors? Or, do you prefer “floating” in the middle of the room?
Sep 26, 2013
Paint Color Portfolio: Dark Blue Dining Rooms
I don’t think I’ve ever met a dark blue I didn’t like. Especially when paired with white, metal, or warm wood, paint in these tones can be a sophisticated choice. Here are five rooms where dark blue paint creates an inviting backdrop, and 10 paints to get the look. INSPIRATION ROOMS: 1. Ashley Capp for The Marion House Book 2. Nuevo Estilo 3. Lonny 4. Design*Sponge 5. House Tweaking PAINT COLORS TO GET THIS LOOK: 1. Van Deusen Blue by Benjamin Moore 2.
Sep 20, 2013
Laidback Summer Style: 10 Perfect Porches
By this point in the summer, I wish I could pass every day kicked back in the shade on a porch. Here are ten porches where you can get the best of the indoors and out.Summer always makes me nostalgic for the wraparound porch and the sleeping porch of the beach house I went to every summer as a kid. Whether you’re there reclined on a chair, swing, hammock, or bed, porches are the perfect spot for summer relaxation.TOP ROW:1. Lonny2. Joe Gomez for Design*Sponge3.
Aug 16, 2013
Walls of Tile in the Kitchen
Why have a backsplash when you can have a full wall of tile? Here are ten kitchens where large swathes of tile have a big impact.Extending tile from the floor or countertop to the ceiling can add big texture, color, and pattern to a kitchen. On a full wall, classic white subway tile becomes more dramatic (image 10), and cement tiles emulate the look of wallpaper with great durability (image 5).TOP ROW1. James Merrell for House Beautiful2. Lars Bolander’s Scandinavian Design3.
Aug 2, 2013
Before & After: Blank Slate Hallway
When my husband and I moved into our renovated row home in 2011, this second-floor hallway was pretty much a blank slate. Almost two years later, we’ve made one major change and brought needed personality into the space.Neither of us liked the carpet; after living with it for a year and a half, we impulsively removed it in April. Our home is over a hundred years old, and we knew the original heart pine was mostly intact underneath.
Jul 8, 2013
Classic American Design: Shaker
Tis The Gift To Be SimpleFrom a religious and social standpoint, Shakers were radicals when they arrived in New York from England just before the American Revolution, in 1774. Like Quakers, they are pacifists. In contrast to the Quakers and most other religions, the Shakers, officially the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming, began with a woman leader.
Jul 4, 2013
8 Tips for Planning an Outdoor Wedding
On a humid Saturday around this time last year, I married my husband on an 330-acre organic farm in eastern Pennsylvania. (That’s us above.) It poured for part of that day, but thanks to careful planning — and, you know, being really excited — I barely noticed. 1. Have a backup plan, and know when to implement or drop it. 2. Rain doesn’t have to be a terrible thing. 3. Let the scenery shine. 4. Consider how people will get to, from, and around the event. 5.
Jun 14, 2013
Choosing the Best White Paint: A Cool vs. Warm and Old vs. New Theory
Anyone who has tried to pick out white paint knows there are tons of variants. In my case, I’ve started a personal crusade against antique white in favor of a brighter white. One of the most ambitious goals in my January Cure was painting all the antique white walls in my three-story row home Ultra Pure White. Having redone two long hallways areas, I’ve made decent progress. Today I’m working on an awkward stairway.
Jun 7, 2013
A Digital Dilemma: Family and Event Photo Albums & Books
I’m finally assembling a photo book from my wedding, which happened this time last year (the first anniversary is paper, so it’s cool, my parents haven’t printed their choices of photos from that day either). Working on a photo book has gotten me thinking about what it means to have a tangible compilation of important photos versus one that only lives on your computer.I love revisiting my parents’ photo albums.
May 30, 2013
Small Space Inspiration: Bunk Beds & Lofts
The only time I’ve ever slept in a bunk bed was at summer camp, and I loved it. While most of us aren’t sleeping away in cabins, everyone can use space-saving furniture. For kids, lofted and bunk beds are a great option.Bunk beds free up floor space in a shared kids room, and you can configure them to work for two, three, and even four beds. A lofted bed can work for kids (and, as in image 5, a baby and crib) as well as adults (Images 2 and 9).Bunk & Loft Inspiration:1.
May 16, 2013
Before & After: Kim’s Closet to Craft Room
The closet in my guest bedroom never hosted much clothing, and I decided it’d be a perfect tucked away spot for sewing and crafting.My workspace in my last apartment was a craft cabinet, so a closet was a step up. I painted the bottom portion of the wall with leftover paint and built a desk with wood and metal braces from Home Depot. I hung acrylic shelves on the left wall and added a custom corkboard, task lamp, filing cabinet, and calendar.
Feb 28, 2013
Before & After: Victoria’s Cottage Makeover
It’s easy to walk into a rental and see only the bad parts — poor lighting, bad flooring, old paint, etc. Forced to move, Victoria of SF Girl by Bay has made the best out of what initially seemed like a less than ideal new home.
Feb 8, 2013
Before & After: Jenny’s Built-in IKEA Billy Bookshelves
Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook consistently executes beautiful DIY projects with precision and flair. Most recently, she and her family used Ikea’s Billy bookshelves in combination with lumber, mouldings, and spray paint to create a custom look at a non-custom cost.Jenny has slowly been revealing updates to her New York home, and these shelves give the living room a sophisticated feel that’s still young and fun. It looks so good!
Jan 11, 2013
Before & After: Erin’s Painted House
Erin lives in a row house with a brick façade that she and her husband found underwhelming. The brick was not the best quality and had mismatched mortar spots, and the bottom line was, they wanted to give their home some stand-out personality.After testing out 12 shades of gray paint samples, Erin of 110 + 2 settled on Sherwin Williams’ Classic French Gray for the house and their Citrus for the front and back doors. The gray is classic, and the punchy yellow is fun and modern.
Sep 14, 2012
Design Classics: Oriental Rugs
You don’t have to be able to tell an Arak from a Tabriz to appreciate how good either rug looks in a room. They work well with modern or traditional decor, and they only get better with age.Classy and classic, oriental rugs are a reliably stylish way to add color, pattern, and history to almost any room in your house. They’ll add interest to a hallway (Image 10) and give a grownup feel to a nursery (Image 2).
Sep 13, 2012