Melissa DiRenzo's Recent Articles
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High & Low: One Casual Dining Look, Two Budgets
No matter the size of your home, I think it’s really important to create a casual, comfortable, welcoming space in which to sit down and enjoy a meal. If you’re lucky enough to live in a larger space, this could be where you eat your morning cereal while poring over the latest news or your favorite home decor site (hint hint).
Oct 21, 2015
A Shopping Guide to Bright Beautiful Seating
The colorful sofa trend is going strong and, as a color addict myself, I couldn’t be happier. It’s hard not to smile when you walk into a room that has a big and bold pop of color. Color may not be for everyone and the thought of such a large piece in a bright color may be intimating, but what’s great is that a colorful sofa can actually be versatile.
Oct 14, 2015
High & Low: One Fresh Home Office Look, Two Budgets
Now that the kids are back in school and life is slowly getting back into a regular routine, it’s time to think about getting your own work and routine back in order. For some (like me!) the excitement of getting new school supplies never really fades and this time of year is a great time to rethink, reorganize, refresh your home office or perhaps create one from scratch.
Sep 22, 2015
Two Green Thumbs Up for Small Space Indoor Gardens
What’s not to love about plants? Sure, they can make a bit of a mess sometimes, but they add so much warmth to the decor of a space- not to mention that they keep the air fresh, especially in the winter months when we shut ourselves in and all the fresh air out. Plants can take up precious space, but don’t let the size of your home hold you back from enjoying some beautiful greenery. Here are 10 great space-saving ideas for mini indoor gardens that get two green thumbs way up. 1.
Sep 17, 2015
Before & After: A Refreshed Bedroom Retreat
It’s all too common that the room that should be the most relaxing is the one that’s the most chaotic- or just forgotten when it comes to decor. The master bedroom should be your sanctuary so that you can rest up and deal with everything else life has planned for you, right? After spending years creating and decorating her space, Virginia of Fynes Designs decided a master bedroom makeover was long overdue. Get ready for a wow! transformation.
Sep 2, 2015
Before & After: A Cozy Cabin Boy’s Bedroom
Kristi and her family recently moved back to their small hometown in Northern Alberta. After a warm welcome, they were faced with the reality of a house that needed a major makeover. Kristi and her husband decided to tackle their son Carson’s room first and were inspired by their new Northern surroundings to make this room as cozy as a winter cabin. Wait until you see the transformation… Now the room is full of warmth from floor to ceiling with so much wood and so many cozy textures.
Aug 25, 2015
Before & After: A Cool and Calming Multi-Purpose Room Makeover
If you’re lucky enough to have an extra room, the challenge is deciding what to do with it- and keeping it from being a dumping ground for random furniture and junk. Spare rooms may not be top priority when it comes to decor and budgets, but they have so much potential and can make life easier as multi-functional (and pretty!) rooms. With just paint and budget-friendly DIYs, this neglected space was transformed into a cool, calm room for dressing, working, and hanging out.
Aug 14, 2015
How To Turn Your Vintage Camera Collection into Wall Art
In today’s age of digital photography, vintage cameras are more like pieces of art, and as with any art collection, it’s nice to have them on display to enjoy. I love my DSLR and phone camera, but I miss deciding what moments deserve of one of my precious 24 captures, or the anticipation of opening an envelope of freshly-developed photos. Displaying vintage cameras is not only a stylish way to decorate your space but also is a great, nostalgic conversation piece when you have guests.
Jul 11, 2015
13 Housewarming Gifts for Newlyweds
Another weekend, another wedding- sound like your summer? Soon all those lovebirds will be moving into their love nests and there will be another reason to celebrate. Leave all the really practical gifts for the family to buy and instead bring something unique and fun to the housewarming party. Whether the happy couple is starting from scratch in a new place or consolidating two spaces into one, it’s nice to have a few new things that really mark the space as ‘theirs’.
Jun 30, 2015
Design Challenge: An Outdoor Living Space for Under $1000
If you live somewhere with a short summer or if you’re on a budget, it can be hard to swallow the cost of furnishing your outdoor space. But, my own experience is that you won’t use it much until you make it comfortable and welcoming. So, I was challenged to come up with a complete outdoor look for under $1,000. Challenge accepted!
Jun 2, 2015
Take the Quiz: Is it Paint or Wallpaper?
It’s time to test your home decor eye. There’s definitely lots of great wallpapers out there but you may have your reasons for not going that route. The good news is that you can get the wallpaper look without the expense, hassle or commitment (hello renters!) by using paint instead. Don’t believe that you can get the same beautiful patterns with paint? See if you can spot which examples are paint and which are wallpaper. I bet you will be surprised by some of the answers.
May 21, 2015
Red Carpet to Room: Met Gala
Designing a room is like putting together an outfit for your space. When it comes to fashion, there was no shortage of fabulous inspiration at the Met Gala this year. It’s so interesting to see how fashion and home decor can inspire each other, so let’s take some of the looks from the red carpet and translate them into your space.
May 11, 2015
15 Mother’s Day Brunch DIY Decor Ideas
Not only is Mother’s Day a time to celebrate and thank all the wonderful moms in your life but it’s also a great excuse to host and style a beautiful spring brunch. Setting up a gorgeous table shows your guests how special they are and makes an event that much more memorable (and provides lots of great photo opps!). With the Spring season, there’s no shortage of colorful inspiration.
May 7, 2015
We Tried It: The Best Way to Keep Flowers Fresh
There’s nothing that can freshen up your space or brighten your day like a bouquet of flowers. The only downside to these lovelies is that we wish they would last longer. We’ve all heard of different tips and tricks to help our flowers stay fresh as long as possible, and I thought I would put some of the common options to the test. Keep reading to see the results and the big winner!
Apr 30, 2015
10 Ways to Transform a Basic Welcome Mat
Your welcome mat can say hello to your guests before you even open your door (Plus, it will hopefully save you from a mess inside). Whether you’re on a budget or just feel like getting crafty, you can create something unique with a really basic and affordable mat. Here are 10 ways to welcome guests with a custom touch. TOP ROW: 1. A modern and colorful geometric pattern by The Crafted Life. 2. Super fun & fruity mats by The House That Lars Built. 3.
Apr 17, 2015
Shopping Guide: 25 Colorful Pillows for Spring
Sometimes all you need to get into a spring state of mind is a pop of color in your space. Whether it’s in the living room, bedroom or anywhere else you can throw a pillow, here’s 25 fabulous and colorful cushions to freshen up and add cheer to your space. Space saving tip: if it’s an option, to buy pillow covers and use the same inserts then you can easily tuck away the old cover for next year.
Apr 17, 2015
11 Ways to Use & Display Vintage Metals
Have you inherited some vintage silver, brass or copper pieces and have no idea what to do with them or how to display them in your more modern space? If you have some sentimental pieces sitting in a box collecting dust, here’s how to incorporate them into your everyday decor. You’ll look at those old silver creamers at the thrift shop in a whole new light. TOP ROW: 1. Gather up a grouping of vintage creamers, cups etc.
Apr 8, 2015
9 Stylish & Smart Ways to Reimagine a Dresser
Repurposing an old dresser is a great way to save some money, recycle and create a totally unique piece. Sometimes all a piece needs is a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware and there’s no shortage of dresser makeover inspiration in our archives. However, if you want to take it a step further and think more outside the box (or dresser) and flex your DIY skills, here’s some great smart and stylish ways you can transform your piece into something totally different.
Mar 27, 2015
We Tried a DIY Lamp Shade Kit and Here’s the End Result
If you love vintage decor, specifically vintage lamps, I’m about to make your day. I find so many great lamps in my vintage hunting but I had to start passing them by because as much as I love them, it drives me absolutely nuts trying to find the right updated shade for them. Finding the right shape and size gives me grey hairs. Then I discovered i like that lamp and their DIY Lamp Shade Kit.
Mar 17, 2015
Trend Alert: Navy, Marble & Brass in the Kitchen & Bath
White marble is pretty timeless, but it’s definitely having a moment in the spotlight right now in kitchen and bathroom design. Pairing the beautiful natural stone with classic navy and brass makes for a modern classic look. The contrast between the light and dark colors and the pop of gold is simply beautiful. Deeper pockets are usually involved when it comes to bright white marble (Maxwell explains how grayer Carrara is easier on the wallet).
Mar 12, 2015
10 Alternative Headboard Ideas You Might Not Have Thought Of
Go ahead...think outside the headboard.
Mar 8, 2015
Before & After: From Pink to Perfect Bedroom Makeover
Have I got a doozy of a before & after for you today. Have you ever purchased a house or moved into a rental that comes with plenty of the previous owner’s ‘character’? For Lidy and her family that meant acquiring a bright fuschia bedroom when they purchased their home near Calgary, Canada. It takes a strong vision and sense of style to transform a room like this into something so modern and cool. Above is how the room looked when they decided to purchase the house.
Feb 23, 2015
10 Shades of Grey in the Bedroom
image:1e359d64d0e4aaa9eb797d41e745cd3aff5cf8f5 w:540 s:"fit" class_name:"mt-image-center" show_pin_button:"true" show_image_credits:"true" I thought with the anticipated release of 50 Shades of Grey on Valentine’s day, it was very appropriate to talk about bedrooms and the color grey. I’m a huge color lover so it’s not often that I show off neutrals. I would usually describe grey as “blah,” but these bedrooms decorated in different shades of grey are anything but.
Feb 12, 2015
Before & After: A Modern Vintage Loft Kitchen Makeover
I’m so excited to share with you today a before & after of my very own kitchen! I live in a converted hard loft in the eclectic neighbourhood of Kensington Market in Toronto. It was converted to lofts in 1999 — which you can see by this before photo. There was nothing absolutely terrible with this kitchen (well maybe those countertops), but it just felt dated and didn’t match my colorful and eclectic personality and the rest of my space. I decided to give it a major makeover.
Feb 11, 2015
Beautifully Organized: Collections
What’s the difference between collecting and clutter? I ask myself that question often as I’m guilty of buying multiples of (too) many things. You can avoid clutter status by putting your beautiful collections on display. Here are 16 examples of great collections—including my own tea cup collection!
Jan 31, 2015
Show Off Your Style: 10 Decorative Ways to Organize Shoes & Accessories
Yes, you own 13 hats, 38 pairs of shoes, 12 pairs of shades and more great pieces that you don’t have time to count. A great way to keep an inventory of what you have (and also free up some precious storage space) is to display your stylish goods. Make them work double duty — not only will they look great on you but also in your home. Here’s 10 ways to organize and display your style.
Jan 23, 2015
Control the Clutter: Organizing with Trays In Every Room of the House
You know the table in the room where you just put ‘stuff’? Or that collection of ‘things’ you love, but don’t really have much in common with each other? Or all the essentials in your kitchen or bathroom that you want at an arm’s reach that clutter up the counter? An easy solution to controlling that clutter without really having to change your habits is to start organizing with trays. A tray takes a bunch of stuff and turns it into one element.
Jan 16, 2015
10 Stylish Ways to Organize Cords
January – the month we all try to get the year started off right. Christmas decor is tucked away for another year but you’re left with that mess of tech cords tucked in the corner or under your desk. If you were lucky you may even have a few more cords to add from your gift haul. Until we live in a completely wireless world (one day!) we still have to live with wires. The good news is that there’s some pretty stylish options out there that organize and look great. TOP ROW: 1.
Jan 15, 2015
Buy or DIY: Inspiring Unconventional Shelving
Form or function? I know I struggle with that question at times. Here are 13 unconventional shelving ideas that marry the logical and creative, for the best of both worlds. Whether you’re handy or prefer to put your credit card to work, here are lots of great examples that you can make yourself, buy or just be inspired by to duplicate in your own space. TOP ROW DIY triangle shelves, full tutorial on Whimsy Darling. Positive/Negative space corner shelves by Martina Carpelan.
Dec 1, 2014
Before & After: A Fresh Kitchen Makeover for $500
If you’ve ever done a kitchen makeover or thought about it and did a little research, you know that things get really pricey, really fast (I can speak from experience). That’s why I was so impressed by Brooklyn Berry’s $500 kitchen makeover. That’s almost like pennies in the kitchen makeover world. The key is being a really savvy shopper, getting creative and getting your hands dirty to do most of the work yourself.
Nov 20, 2014
15 DIY Ideas and Inspiration for a Modern Thanksgiving Table
It seems that after Halloween the holiday flood gates open, but there’s still Thanksgiving somewhere in there. It’s nice to have a day to gather with family and friends and be thankful for what we have before we sit down to make our wish lists. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year and you want to freshen up the traditions a bit, here’s 15 DIY ideas and inspiration for a modern Thanksgiving table. TOP ROW 1.
Nov 12, 2014
Shopping by Style:Guides to Romantic, Mid-Century, Natural & Industrial Pendant Lights
As my kitchen makeover continues my mind is now on lighting. It’s truly amazing how much lighting can add to a space. It’s like a piece of jewellery that can add the perfect finishing touch to a look. There’s the practical kitchen lights that are often tucked away in the ceiling, under the cupboards or behind a valence and then there’s the feature light. That’s your stylish necklace hanging there for everyone to see.
Nov 10, 2014
Bring the Outdoors In: 15 Inspiring Nature Murals
Have you ever considered bringing your favorite natural scene into your own space to enjoy all year round? Wall murals and huge scale nature art can be a bit tricky, since there’s a wide selection of options of varying quality. If you’re inspired to create a beautiful indoor retreat, check out these examples of the look done right. These examples include art, murals and tapestries — and some are even from hotels (so you can book now and see how you like living with it first).
Oct 30, 2014
Before & After: A Mirror Transformation That Will Grow on You
The best before & after projects are those that you will never guess in a million years what they’ll look like. Alex from Northstory completely changes the form and function of these two thrift shop mirrors into a fresh, modern and Scandinavian-inspired planter. Check out the reveal: Totally fabulous and unexpected, right? It takes a special eye and talent to visualize this when spotting those mirrors amongst the junk.
Oct 15, 2014
Buy or DIY: 12 Creative Wood Headboards
As the weather cools down, the urge is to spend a few more weekend mornings cozied up under the covers. So why not refresh your bedroom with a warm wood headboard? Here are some creative and rustic headboards you can buy or DIY. Wood is so versatile and often it just looks better with age. While you can work with its natural color palette, you can also stain it or paint it to make it your own.
Oct 9, 2014
Before & After: Shannon’s Boring to (Faux) Brick Wall
There are a select few of lucky folks out there who get to live in authentic converted lofts full of character— and then there’s everyone else. Even if you live in a suburban home, you can still infuse your space with the feeling of wood beams, cement floors and exposed brick walls. It’s true! This amazing transformation by Shannon from AKA Design + Life is proof. She turned this simple space into a brick wall full of character that could pass for any cool downtown coffee shop.
Sep 29, 2014
Before & After: Sabrina’s Pretty & Professional Home Office
Sometimes working with a blank slate can be tougher than reworking a room that already exists. Four blank walls looking back at you can intimidate some people. Not for Sabrina of Pink Little Notebook. She needed a space where she could be both professional and creative and this bare room in her new home was the perfect space to transform. Are you ready to see the amazing room she created? Wow, right!?
Sep 18, 2014
A Stylish Kitchen for Less: 10 Great Looking Kitchen Faucets Under $200
Not only does the faucet you choose for your kitchen affect the overall look of the room, but if you cook a lot (or if you don’t own a dishwasher), the convenience of its design will affect you every day. For our 2016 faucet guide, we’ve taken both form and function into consideration—and to raise the stakes even higher, set a price cap at $200. These options meet the trifecta—they’re pretty, practical, and very well-priced.
Sep 12, 2014
Back to Work: Desk Lamp Shopping Guide
Do we really ever grow out of the ‘back to school’ routine? I think for many of us, September will always mark that time. Even if you’re not in school or sending any of your mini-me’s off to learn, it’s still a great time of year to regroup and re-organize your working space.
Sep 4, 2014
Big Appetite: 20 Dining Rooms With Large Scale Art
You may have noticed the trend toward oversized artwork and photography. It may not be for everyone, but I think it’s fabulous to be big and bold in your design choices. One huge piece will definitely take care of a single wall or may be enough for the whole space. The look can work in any space, but today I have 20 examples of dining rooms with oversized art for your inspiration board.
Sep 1, 2014
Create Your Own Spa Bathroom Oasis
Aren’t spa days the best? They are the perfect way to relax and recharge. Wouldn’t it be great to have a mini-spa right in your own bathroom? I know, it’s the stuff dreams are made of. If you’re planning a bathroom reno and have a budget to work with, there’s some fixture and floor choices you can make to get that spa feel.
Aug 21, 2014
A Great Looking Bedroom Under $1000
I never understood those people that had ‘fun’ doing math, but if you can relate it to home decor I totally get it. I had so much fun putting together a living room for under $1000 that I decided to do a bedroom as well. Not everyone may see your bedroom, but it’s your retreat and shouldn’t be forgotten. If you’re into the eclectic modern boho look, this room can be all yours for $1,000, with a bit left over to buy yourself some fresh flowers.
Aug 18, 2014
Budget Basics: A Great Looking Living Room Under $1000
Oh boy, do I ever love the challenge of putting together a room on a budget and $1000 for a living room is most definitely a tight budget. Online classifieds, DIY projects and hand me downs are excellent resources for keeping the price down but that may not be your style or you just want to start with something fresh and new. No worries, I have you covered.
Aug 6, 2014
14 Ways to Decorate with Vintage Pieces in Your Bathroom
Despite being small, bathrooms can be the trickiest to decorate. We find ourselves thinking wisely about every decision, since this room holds a captive audience. If you’re looking for a little country or vintage charm in your bathroom, try recycling or repurposing something you may already have.
Aug 1, 2014
DIY Decor Solutions to Take With You When You Leave
Renting can be a drag, but the good news is that you can still have a super stylish space on a budget if you’re willing to put in a bit of DIY work — and the even better news is, you can take your masterpiece with you. Here are 10 DIY decor solutions that you can take with you when you move.
Jul 17, 2014
15 Centerpieces For Your Summer Table
Ah, summer. There’s so much to love about it. I think all the beautiful flowers in bloom everywhere you turn have something to do with it. And all the parties and BBQs don’t hurt either. Are you hosting a get-together this summer? If so, here’s some great centerpiece inspiration for your table. Whether your entertainment is a larger event, intimate dinner party, or casual get together, they could all use some flowers to dress up the table.
Jul 10, 2014
Now in Print: Covet Garden Home
If you’re a home decor junkie like myself, then you’ve probably heard of Covet Garden. And if not, then I’m about to feed your addiction. Covet Garden is an online shelter magazine that’s all about real people and real spaces. No interior designers or stylists — just incredibly creative people with a passion for home decor. Each issue focuses on one space and the people who live there.
Jul 3, 2014
DIY Project Idea: How To Customize a Plain Welcome Mat
I was working on my own outdoor patio space recently and thought I would share an easy DIY project with you. I was looking for a small outdoor mat, but because of the high sun exposure all those beautiful patterned straw-like designer ones just don’t hold up. I needed something basic and hardy, but unfortunately that usually equals boring and unattractive. So I decided to give this $10 mat from Walmart a friendly little makeover.
Jun 19, 2014