Five Organization Tips to Prep for Back to School

Morning All and Happy Wednesday! I have been MIA from the blog this Summer which, in truth, has been amazing in that it has given us much needed time for family adventures. And now, as we move into the latter half of August, I am still in denial that Fall is lurking,  despite the IG feeds and blog posts harkening its arrival with plans for Fall decor, Fall Style and everything back to school!

Nevertheless, it is time to look ahead and get ready. Full disclosure- that means finally sorting through what came home from the locker at the end of the year, as that pile still remains. Sigh. So here are some great organizational tips and hacks if you find yourself needing a slight overhaul but don’t want to use the last moments of Summer to do it!

#1: Create a Homework or Project Center

Having everything in one place can save minimize many headaches… I do realize that you may have everything ready and in one place, but you still have to get them to do the homework!

This fabulous Art Cart from Fun with Mama can be modified to hold whatever kids need for their grade level so that all supplies can be found in.one.place, just wheel it over and voila!

organize home work station

I love this gorgeous project area featuring Caitlin Wilson wallpaper- clean, organized, perfection!

homework project area

Here is a fabulous DIY homework caddy from Paint Yourself a Smile, that can travel with you if you don’t have an entire area or room to designate for school projects.

homework caddy

#2.  Organize Outfits to Get Out of the House on Time

Now take this one with a grain of salt. I have tried this, but I have two girls…. so inevitably if I pick out Outfit A for Monday, they will want to wear Outfit C. It’s Murphy’s law. So if it works for you to designate certain outfits for certain days and the kids actually wear what you choose- winner winner chicken dinner! But, if like me, they require ahem options, then perhaps just creating organized drawers and closets leads to the gold star.

Here are some awesome days of the week free printable tags from Making Life Lovely to affix to hangers with outfits for each day:

closet organization tags

Just being able to see things to pull together outfits, like in this closet from I Heart Organizing, will save precious time in the morning:

organization for kids closet

Here is another layout option from Beneath My Heart (check out the “before” as well). The point is to be able to see everything at a glance, match it up, and go!

closet organization

#3. Up Your Snack Game

So if your kids are like mine, Summer has been a blur of never ending snacks, snacks and more snacks…and I am fooling myself if I think for one moment that our snack quotient will decrease. Don’t forget- the “snack after school” is actually either the lunch replacement because, “I was too busy to eat, Mom”, or is just the fourth meal of the day….naturally.  Moreover, I have a sickness when it comes to my LOVE of organized pantries, so I will share you some of my favs…you know because the snacks need look amazing:

From Eleven Gables:

pantry organization

and from Bright on the Day:

pantry organization

#4.  Car Organization

OMG, my achilles heal. I live in my car during the school year schlepping to a myriad of activities, and will find myself needing a Thank you note, a bandaid and a ziplock at a moments notice on the fly (true story).  So I have taken to leaving the aforementioned things my car, along with stamps and gum and half my medicine cabinet because hey, you just.never.know.  As a result of the aforementioned confession of the stuff I lug around, I will not be using my own car for organizational inspiration as it is, shall we say, a work in progress.  Here are some cool items I found to help you get.it.done!

First, a space for the cell phone that ends up under the seat when I brake too quickly:)

organization for the car

And I definitely need this for back seat organization!

over the seat organization

And this trunk organizer just might be big enough to tackle the sports equipment:

organizer for trunk

**All items sourced above are from New Chic. I am not affiliated, just wanted to share these items with you!

#5.  Paper Organization

Now this one is less about the kids, and more for your own sanity.  I debated whether an organized coffee station or even a well appointed bar should be included, but having a solution for all the paper that comes into my house actually trumps both of those.  It is an immense amount that needs to be sorted, shredded and recycled daily. If it doesn’t get done, and I let my guard down for one hot second, it all multiples during the night and forms crazy piles on the dining room table….the center of our house that I have to walk past millions of times on a given day. So long story short…sort, shred, recycle the moment it crosses the threshold- you will thank me later:)

I love theses set-ups to accomplish this seemingly mundane task because they elevate it by making it beautiful and functional such as hiding your shredder in a basket like See Jane Work:

shredder storage

Or incorporating everything into a family command center with a shredder from Houzz:

shredder hidden in cabinet

And Studio Dearborn  created this beautiful desk area near the kitchen to shred, sort and store…

pullout drawer with shredder

 

Good Luck with all your back to school prep! I hope these five quick tips help you get organized  as we march toward Fall and Back to School!

Best,
Kelly

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Mid-Week Musings and the Dandelion Effect

Hi All! This post was originally started two weeks ago and titled Monday Musings, but here we are midweek, a fortnight later and I am just now sitting down to sum up my thoughts.  I have been MIA  finishing up some client projects, getting over a cold, enjoying a family wedding weekend, and racing toward the end of the school year with the kids.  How are we mid-June already!?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the psychology of design and space planning (warning: wordy post ahead).  I have witnessed how a beautiful, functional space can literally change a client’s perspective of their home or office, but getting to that point in the road is not without its challenges.  Enter the dandelion effect.  This is what I call the design issue(s) when one project cannot get done because it hinges on another… and when you tackle one issue, another pops up to slow you down.  And then as a result, frustration sets in and nothing.moves.forward.

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There are several things that have not been addressed in the nine years I have lived in my house due to the dandelion effect.  A small, yet apt example of my own current ongoing dandelion challenge has been attempting to create an area with great adequate lighting where I can apply my make-up, do my hair etc.- a space out of the way of other family members. Doesn’t sound particularly challenging right? Let’s review how we got here.

When my kids were born I began implementing the “get ready out of a bag” technique because I was home with them, and at that point as a Mom you are in whatever room they are in, so I would just drag my makeup etc. with me to be applied wherever I found myself (let’s be honest it was more like chapstick, a hair tie and an extra shirt for when I was spit-up on, but it was a “ready bag” nevertheless).  Now as the kids get older, due to the sheer amount of time I spend in the car, this concept of the ever ready bag enables me to address self care rituals at stop lights and while waiting to pick up/drop off. Classy.  So in an effort to stop this nonsense I have been wanting to create an area for myself to get ready in the morning. Easy enough.  Except for the damn dandelion effect that has enabled the “get ready out of a bag” insanity to go on for nine years.

Here is how it works.  I have wanted to delineate this prep area for myself for years, except there is one bathroom upstairs where everyone needs to get ready.  We are putting in a Master Bath within a years time (for the sanity of our entire family), but until then I am challenging myself to find another solution.  My first thought was to carve out a spot for a vanity table and chair in my bedroom, but then quickly realized the outlets I would need for the blow dryer are in another area of the room so I would need to relocate them…totally reasonable (insert sarcasm here) because they would all be temporary and torn out when the Master Bath goes in.  Then I started using the downstairs bathroom because hey, all my stuff was in a bag anyway, but the small vanity top did not afford me the space I was looking for to layout my new Sephora haul sooooo….. I could just redo the downstairs bath sink area while awaiting the new Master Bath install. Another perfectly reasonable solution.   And round and round it goes…

makeup storage
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So this is the point in which I am going to get out of the weeds (ha ha) and implement the “progress over perfect” concept that is all the rage.  As a Type A this is a challenging concept to accept, but I am tired of schlepping that bag about, as now it has become a symbol of a lack of effort to carve out space for myself  in my own home (Sidebar: Naturally, I did try to make the bag fancier, more organized etc. in an attempt to quell my frustration, but it did not solve the problem per se).

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So here is the plan (with rules of course)… accountability photos to follow next week: 1) I will implement an organized space for the morning routine of hair/makeup etc. (most likely with a damn extension cord to solve the outlet problem…progress, not perfect); 2) I will use existing furniture as I have been cleaning out the attic for days and cannot bring myself to buy anything new when I have a myriad of options in storage; and 3) It will be functional, organized and pretty and may even double as jewelry storage so I actually know what I have- imagine!

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Now to come full circle to the psychology of design I mentioned above.  Will implementing this area for myself lead to other things…greater self care- ooooh maybe I’ll even get to the gym more! LOL. Listen, I have realistic expectations, but I am wondering if just eliminating the “get ready bag” will make me feel more invested in myself.  Now then, taking that to the next level, perhaps updating annoyances in my kitchen will lead to healthier eating…and will creating an at home office space make me feel like I accomplished more when I use it, not to mention better organized? I am not sure, but I cannot wait to find out:). Perhaps in doing these things my dandelion effect with become a dandelion affect…in a positive way.

Ok, so I challenge you to identify something that has been bugging you in your own home, but due to the dandelion effect you have not taken on.  Make a reasonable plan for yourself and take steps forward toward your goal.  Progress over perfect my friends.

Good Luck!
Best,

Kelly

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Outdoor Updates

Good Morning!  I hope all the Mothers out there had an amazing Mother’s Day and were pampered and celebrated!  My crew and I enjoyed a quick overnight getaway because with kiddos all you really need is a hotel pool:)  They swam, we ate at some really fun restaurants, they swam some more, and we took them shopping for much needed summer clothes (they grew out of everything all at once)!

My loves- Mother's Day 2018
My loves- Mother’s Day 2018

And here we are in Mid-May… marching toward the end of the school year.  With unbridled optimism for a relaxing Summer, I totally want to spruce up the backyard and make it more lounge-worthy.  When we bought the house nine years ago the size of our back deck was a major selling feature, and since that time we have been very fortunate to host many parties and family gatherings there.  Now, the deck needs a little extra TLC because the wear and tear of long winters is definitely showing.  Boards need to be replaced, the annual cleaning and staining are definitely due, and some plants and flowers would go a long way….

Last year I added a polypropylene rug to our outdoor dining set-up and love how it added dimension to the space to make it feel more indoor/outdoor.  This year I am eyeing a new umbrella and maybe even some outdoor curtains to provide more privacy…

Deck decor, outdoor eating area

Here are some fun finds I wanted to share in case you are looking to up your game in your own outdoor space:

black and white outdoor decor

Sources: Black & White  One| Two| Three| Four| Five| Six

Have a great week all!
Best,

Kelly

 

 

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I made it!!! Week 6 of the One Room Challenge! It’s reveal time!

Hi All!  I made it to week 6 of the One Room Challenge and am happy to report the office makeover is complete!  I cannot wait to show you the transformation.  Admittedly the before was sad…really sad.  How could we have possibly lived with it like this for soooo long?  It was just one of those cases where life was too busy and I never had time to tackle the project… but then enter the One Room Challenge… and a deadline… and I was off and running and getting.things.done!  I am so elated to have this one crossed off the To Do List, but more importantly my hubby, who spends mucho time in this office, is happy with the result.

The challenge in this room that unfortunately could not be changed (due to time, logistics and budget) was its size.  It is a small room, 9 x 6,  that had to continue being used during this entire process.  That meant working diligently on the weekends and moving things in and out so it could be a “functioning” office during the week.

Let me remind you of the before…eeeeeek a dark cluttered space with old ceiling tiles, dark trim and paneling, and “it had seen better days” wallpaper:

before, office makeover
BEFORE
Sara Langley Designs| gray office with dark gray focal wall
AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The room feels so much larger now with no lower paneling, light gray walls, and a fresh white trim and ceiling:

Sara Langley Designs | gray office interior
AFTER

 

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BEFORE

and I am so excited with how the focal wall turned out, the perfect backdrop for the compass:

Sara Langley Designs|panel focal wall, millwork, gray accent
AFTER

and another view before:IMG_7973

and from a similar angle after:

Sara Langley Designs |gray office interior, red console

I am so happy that I was able to finesse two desks into the space.  They look great and will make the room much more user friendly.  I held my breath when we brought them in because I forgot to account for the depth of the new focal wall when measuring how much space I had but thankfully they fit seamlessly…almost like I planned it that way- phew!

Sara Langley Designs |two office desks, mid century chairs, gray office

So here is hubby’s new view, and I suppose, as an extension of this office makeover, some landscaping outside the office windows is overdue as well.

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Thank you to everyone who has been following along on this crazy adventure of mine.  You can view the  other completed projects of both featured and guest designers here.  Thank you to Linda at the One Room Challenge for creating this wonderful setting to inspire us to get things done!

Best,

Kelly

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One Room Challenge Week 5!

Hi All!  Here is the summation of the progress on my One Room Challenge…. it.has.been.slow. You can see the earlier posts here: Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four along with the amazing progress of the other guest designers here.

Thankfully I was saved and our carpenter friend came in last weekend and completed the focal wall while we were away. Yessssss! But honestly, I am now holding my breath to the finish line.  I had intended to get into the office this week to get started on the painting, but life got in the way and now I have my work cut out for me this weekend!  Enter my amazing friend to watch the kids on Sunday so I can tackle things dawn to dusk…and recruited hubby to help.

sara Langley designs office makeover

To Do List:

Prime and paint focal wall, touch up radiators, paint baseboards (2x), touch up wall paint, build desks, hang everything on wall, details.details.details.

I do NOT recommend using a room while trying to redo it.  Moving things back and forth every weekend has been insane, but thankfully once I take things out of the room this weekend I will be bringing in the new furniture and it will be for.the.last.time! Out with the old and in with the new!

Sidebar:  I had a major setback this weekend with the red console I had intended to use.  We don’t have an IKEA near us, so I couldn’t see it in person until this past weekend. Bummer.  It would not have worked in so many ways.  I have sourced many things for clients to date, but finding the perfect red console/ credenza has been by far the greatest challenge.  It’s so hard when you have the idea in your head but cannot find that just right piece to implement in the space.  I even debated buying an unfinished piece and painting it myself….until reality hit that I already had my hands full.  So I found another red option that is arriving tomorrow and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will work.  Nothing like last minute.

I am now in the home stretch…stocked up on coffee and wine, because sometimes you just know it is going to take both to get things done.on.time.

See ya next week for the reveal! It’s gonna be soooo good because it’s such a big change and will make it a much more enjoyable space.

Best,

Kelly

ORC-Gold-250w

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One Room Challenge Week Four- The Struggle is Real!

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Good Morning All!  So here we are…week FOUR of the One Room Challenge!  It’s going to be a nail biter to the end.  This past weekend I was originally planning to complete the focal wall, but with two sick kiddos hubby and I only had time to calculate and recalculate and then calculate again the materials needed for the project….and then of course head to multiple hardware stores to gather supplies.  Hubby stepped in with the Hail Mary and called in a carpenter to save the day (p.s. the same amazing soul that bailed me out in my last challenge, adding crown molding on a deadline).  He is not available until this weekend, so my To Do List had to be, ahem, adjusted.

Like playing Jenga to get all the materials in the car!
Like playing Jenga to get all the materials in the car!

We are headed out of town this weekend so I am going to be painting at night next week to make up time.  I have figured (famous last words) that once the wall is built I will have a primer coat (yes, doing it the “right” way) and then two coats of color, along with painting all the baseboards that are getting installed this weekend as well.  The desks were delivered this week but there was no place to build them, so they are still in boxes and I am hoping it is literally A+B=C because I am running.out.of.time!

If you blink, you'll miss it...Where the panel wall is going...
Where the panel wall is going…

Here is how I left the room at the end of last weekend…sadly not much further along, but I have a plan so  (deep breaths) it will be fine.

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IN PROGRESS

So here is what I am working with:

Materials Ready to GO!
Materials Ready to GO!

And here is a sneak peek of the color going on the focal wall…I did get one coat on the radiator.  I am hoping that by painting the radiator (with a high temperature paint), the same color as the wall it will totally disappear.  We shall see!

Hoping to blend the radiator into the wall once all are painted the same color!
Hoping to blend the radiator into the wall once all are painted the same color!

In sum, I am a weekend behind, but hoping to pick up some evenings and catch up!  If you want to check in on the amazing progress of the other One Room Challenge Guest Participants you can follow along here.

Best,

Kelly

ORC-Gold-250w

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Red is so….Caliente!

Hi All and Happy Hump Day! I have been working on the One Room Challenge (insert nail biting here), and while sourcing that “just right” piece for the space, I surprised myself by leaning toward a bold red console.  I am more of a red- light (aka pink) kinda girl, and rarely gravitate toward red beyond the Holidays.  When Benjamin Moore announced their 2018 Color of the Year (yes, I follow such things) as Caliente red, I have to admit I was underwhelmed.  However, after some time to marinate on it, I now find myself seeking out items with this bold, gorgeous color!

Here are some examples of how to implement my new found color crush…

A stunning console in the entryway (paired with black and white spotted paper= perfection!):

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With beautiful accent chairs:

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With bold picture frames to make a statement:

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With gorgeous lighting:

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And with Pops o’ color on pillows:

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I also sourced some additional options in case you are looking to implement this bold color choice in your own design:

RedDecor_SaraLangleyDesigns

 

Sources:

Console Table One | Console Table Two | Accent Chair One | Accent Chair Two | Frames | Lighting One | Lighting TwoPillow One | Pillow Two

Happy Shopping!
Best,

Kelly

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It’s a SUNNY Monday!

SaraLangley_gardenia

Good Morning All and Happy Monday! The Sun is shining…for the third day in a row- YES! Can you tell I have been missing it?:) Oh, and icing on the cake? My gardenia has continued blooming! It.smells.divine.

SO! Now that the weather is cooperating and we tackled the yard clean-up yesterday, I have been thinking about whether I have time for a garden project this season.  Landscaping is something that I have yet to  embrace, and beyond lawn maintenance and a few beautiful trees I was gifted for Mother’s Day, I have never had a plan per se.  I have always loved the look of “layered landscaping” (is that a real thing?) so I figured I would start with Pinterest to see what I could find that represents the look I am trying to achieve.  I always fall for plants that grow best in the South, so picking things for Zone 4-5 has been challenging in the past.  Thankfully there is a hardy variety of my beloved boxwood, which I just put into planters today, so I definitely want to implement them into whatever layered look I choose.

I am planning on including some plants that stay green year round with others that are more showy in Spring/Summer. This combo of evergreens, hydrangeas and pachysandra provides a gorgeous backyard backdrop:

hydrangeas
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and I love this layering of hydrangeas, boxwood and impatiens:

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and this pic has been one of my longtime favs because the hedge provides a beautiful backing for the mature trees:

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and here are some gorgeous symmetrical rows:

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and a literal take on “layers”….that stone is fab-u-lous!:

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And because it is Monday:

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Have a great day!

Best,

Kelly

 

 

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One Room Challenge Week Three!

Good Morning All!  I am not sure: #1 how it is almost the end of April (um yeah, it snowed this morning), and #2 how we are halfway through the One Room Challenge!  Yikes!  This has been a weekend warrior project for me and each Sunday everything gets moved right back into the room so it can be used during the week- wet paint, plaster dust and all.  I do not recommend this plan, but sometimes you gotta just run with it!

So here is where we started for all those not familiar with what I affectionately call the “Sad Office” (please forgive the sad photography as well):

Office_BEFORE

And below are some pics of where we are now… the “it gets ugly before it gets better” phase.  Good grief.  I primed all the existing molding and trim with my fav, Zinsser, and then used Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, color matched to Sherwin Williams Enamel Acrylic Latex…because that is what I had left over from a bazillion other projects I have used it on.  I love how much lighter an entire room looks when the trim is freshly painted white!

Also, a HUGE thank you to my parents (who last underwent this office makeover circa 1970s) for NOT gluing on the paneling, so once I took out some finishing nails that paneling was gone-zo!  And, as demonstrated below, that left clean sheetrock to prime and paint. Thank goodness the scraping of glue was relegated to the wallpaper removal above the chair rail only.

Office Reno| Sara Langley

Let the priming begin!  Truth be told, I always loathe priming because I am impatient and it seems like just another hurdle to a pretty finish.  And no matter how many times I ask the paint pros at my local hardware store if I can skip this step (“Isn’t paint and primer ‘in one’ intended for this very purpose as its name suggests?”) they shake their heads and tell me that if I want it done right, use the damn primer.  So here is proof that I did indeed listen (this time).

Sara Langley Designs| Office Reno

And here is how I left things on Sunday…as I moved furniture back in there may or may not have been wet walls.  The remaining sad wall is going to be the focal panel wall so it is on hold until this weekend…and I am choosing to focus on how much lighter the room is with painted trim and its first coat of BM Revere Pewter.

Sara Langley Designs Office Reno

Sooooo the list for this weekend is as follows: Tackle the radiators (prime and paint); Apply final (third!) coat on the trim; Touch up all walls with Revere Pewter (including painting up to trim when trim is done); Install baseboard molding; Annnnnd install paneled wall.  Truly wishing the weekend was longer than 48 hours!

Also, I finally made a decision on the desks and due to time constraints, I purchased two desk toppers from Pottery Barn that will allow me to use matching file cabinets I already have – Score!  Those get installed next Wednesday so kinda sorta need to be sure the paneled wall is done.this.weekend.  Lastly, because I don’t want to go back down the road of dark walls, dark furniture, dark accessories, etc. I found the perfect antidote below and I am totally digging the bold color:

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I am going to swap out the legs, or use it without, as there are printers etc. needing a home.  And I am also using these cool galvanized file folders to update the office-y plastic ones that were being used before.

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one room challenge |sara Langley designs

Wish me luck! Three weeks to go!

Best,

Kelly

 

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How to Incorporate Decorative Cement Tiles Into Your Design

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Hi All!  Happy Monday!  So this weekend I painted and painted and painted some more… in an earnest attempt to stay on track for the One Room Challenge.  I can only work on the office over the weekend when hubby isn’t using it, so we are on a condensed timeframe to say the least.  Today I have a case of the blahs because I have a sick kiddo home from school, the weather is crap-o-la, and I smell like IcyHot (see the aforementioned painting all weekend statement).  Nevertheless!  I will turn this frown upside-down with some decor inspiration!

I have been seeing the use of gorgeous decorative cement tiles for some time now, but lately it seems like they are everywhere!  Below are some inspiration pics of how to use them in your own home, along with a source list to some of my favs. Enjoy!

A gorgeous muted pattern as a laundry room backsplash:

cement tile backsplash
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A bold graphic choice behind the vent hood:

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A stunning bathroom floor (check out the before and after reveal!):

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As a beautiful fireplace surround:

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Beautiful flooring in this mudroom/entryway:

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And this tres chic graphic design on an outdoor bar:

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And here are a few more of my fav tile options:

SLD_patternedtiles

 

Sources: Medina Gray & White | Atlas II | Gabriella | Tulum III | Argana | Moroccan |

And because it is Monday:

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Have a great day!

Best,

Kelly

P.S. If you are in a sunny warm climate please send some my way. Thanks!

Source top pic

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