Creative Uses for Wallpaper

For those of us who want to experiment with wallpaper without complete commitment, here are some fabulous options to try. Many of these examples are simple DIY projects that require cutting wallpaper to a specific size and pasting it on to different surfaces. These are great projects if you have leftover wallpaper from a project or just small scraps that you would like to put to use. Adding wallpaper to unexpected places such as bookcases or coffee tables adds color and pattern that can bring a space to life.

Cover the Inside of a dresser

Use inside dresser drawers

Decorate the outside of a dresser

Add class to the closet

Make a door the focal point

Give worn books a new look

Frame wallpaper to make art

Put wallpaper on top of a coffee table to change its style

Have a wonderful time wallpapering,



Q & A with Rebecca Cartwright

Rebecca Cartwright is an interior designer and the owner of R. Cartwright design in Ankeny, IA.

Q: Why did you choose to go into interior design?

A: My father was an architect and I grew up visiting the sites that he was working on at the time and I was really interested in architecture and art. I was encouraged in my home to do a lot of art projects. It was just something that I think was internal but was encouraged by my parents to express it. I do have a degree from Drake in psychology and social work. My senior year at Drake I took art and design classes and one of my professors, my art professor, pulled me aside and met with me and suggested I go into art and design because she saw that I had a talent for that. I was a social worker for several years and then switched careers.

Q: How did you make that switch? Did you go back to school?

A: I didn’t, some people do. I actually bought a franchise and went to their school in Maryland and I did the franchise for a year after going to their school, it was an intensive two-week program in Maryland. I have had my own business for 18 years.

Q: What is your favorite DIY project that anyone can do?

A: I love spray paint so I recently painted a vintage stool and some ’70s tables in some different colors to go in a loft downtown and I sprayed some lamp bases and a mirror frame. But I think my favorite was with some clients that were third generation violinists and they have vintage violin music from their grandparents and parents and they wanted to use them some how in their décor. So I had a huge vintage frame from a courthouse in Iowa and I’d been saving that I didn’t know how I’d use it or when I’d use it but we made a collage in the frame of this music and it had handwritten notes by their parents and grandparents on the music itself and then the framer put it together in the frame under glass and we hung it in their dining room.

Q: What is your advice for someone who wants to redesigning a space by themselves?

A: With all the avenues that we have today for design, in just the last five years, I would look at blogs and I would look at and Pinterest. I love magazines, I get several  design magazines a month. I don’t have a lot of time to look at those sites a lot, but if you are looking to do a project on your own I would look at blogs and those sites I mentioned.

Q: How do you describe your own design style?

A: I would say eclectic, clean. I have been drawn to more of a neutral palette in the last five years and then I add in color with pillows and art and pottery, accessories so that there is some longevity to the design. I do like to incorporate personal affects like the music I told you about, any personal pictures,  I really like to take into account the people’s interest. I do a lot of design with books so if we are ordering books for a client, a cocktail table or nightstand that are decorative, I always incorporate their interests in those books and we purchase books that relate to them. So I always take into account their lifestyle. Who’s going to be living in that space, who’s going to use it, how are they going to use it? I’ve moved to a more classic design style and incorporate salvaged pieces if clients will let me.

Q: What is the hardest part about being an interior designer?

A: Difficult clients. And running a business. Because I’m artistic, I prefer meeting with clients and designing rather than all of the paperwork and tracking and running a business. All kinds of personalities, there are controllers and there are people who have conflicts within their marriage, it’s sad to see, but there’s all kinds of unpleasant folks out there. I try to identify those folks who will be problematic and limit my time with them and let them go in a diplomatic way because I don’t enjoy spending time with difficult people. It’s a challenge for all business owners.

Q: What is the most rewarding part about being an interior designer?

A: Improving people’s quality of life. The intangibles, their joy, they can have their family function in a space that is enhanced their ability to function in the space is enhanced. Working with wonderful clients is very rewarding. I gain relationships with them. I’m in their home, it’s a very personal space and so we get very personally involved and I get to know them very well. Of course it’s really fun when I have a lot of Leigh way and can actually do it the way I recommend doing it. If people allow me to have more free reign it turns out better. And if they have a nice budget where we can get high quality pieces and really finish the space, not just provide furniture, flooring and paint, and countertops, but we actually can accessorize and do the windows. If we can complete it, it’s very rewarding.

3D Virtual Room Styler

Fellow interior design gurus rejoice! I came across an awesome website called where anyone can design their own virtual room in a snap. All you have to do is pick the dimensions for a room and then start dragging and dropping furnishings inside the room to fill it up. The products to choose from are high quality and the number of design elements offered is almost endless. The quality that sets this website apart from say Polyvore, is the 3D quality of the rooms. No more flat and overlapping shapes that are just collages.  Designing a room and picking products took me about 20-30 minutes to figure out, but instruction bubbles pop up along the way to help first time designers. Another cool feature on the site is the ability to take pictures of designed rooms once they are finished. This way, you can save your work and maybe ,eventually, turn it into reality. A camera can be moved all over the room and angled in all directions. But designers beware, this website sucks you in. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending an extended amount of time on the computer. But, in the name of interior design, I encourage you to check out the site and test your decorating skills. Here are some examples of rooms I have created. Comment below and let me know what you think.

Happy styling,


eclectic bedroom

eclectic bedroom

traditional dining room

traditional dining room


modern and glam bedroom

modern and glam bedroom

modern and glam bedroom


Gallery Wall

A gallery wall is a collection of objects hung in a pattern or at random on an empty wall. Gallery walls let you express your own personal style through the pieces you choose to hang and the order in which they are laid out. First, take a look at some pattern ideas to see which layout is best for your space.

Now gather your tools of choice. For this project, you only need three items.


Command strips and hooks can be purchased at Target. Be sure to check how many pounds the Command products can hold. The tape measure is from Walmart.

Your next step is finding the objects you want to decorate your wall.

Here, I have chosen a number of products from Hobby Lobby because the store gives customers a real bang for their buck. Target also has a wide selection of wall decor that is reasonably priced. Although I chose pieces that have a similar color palette and style, the fun aspect of a gallery wall is that there are no rules. Get as out-of-the-box or mainstream as you see fit.


1. Clover Mirror in Gold

2.  16″ x 20″ Silver Frascati Shadow Box Frame

3. 10″ x 20″ Barn Wood Frame

4. 16″ x 20″ Black & Gold Estate Frame

5. Rusty Brown Paris Metal Clock

6. 12″ Black Letter

The last step is hanging your objects. First, on paper, map out a pattern for your gallery wall. If you feel comfortable marking on your walls with pencil, make a note of where you want items to hang. This is when your measuring tape comes in handy as well.

Unwrap the Command hooks or strips and read the directions. Stick the wall side of the adhesive strip onto your wall according to where you want your pieces to be. Wait for the suggested amount of time stated on the package. The wait time is usually an hour. After waiting, stick the remaining adhesive strip onto your picture frame or wall art. It is important to line up the Command strips on the wall and the object being hung so they stick together. Make sure you hear the wall art or frame snap into place on top of the wall strip. Once everything is secure, step back and admire your masterpiece! Repeat this last step for each object you want to include on your gallery wall.

Happy hanging,


Styling a Vignette

I like to think of a vignette as a collection of items that simply go together. Vignettes can be on mantle tops, hallway tables, shelves, or anywhere there is empty space. Think of some objects that inspire you and have a general theme that connects the pieces. For example, on a bedroom vanity I might put flowers in glass vases, pearls, and perfume bottles to evoke  a feminine feel. To make a fall centerpiece on a dining room table, I would use small gourds or pumpkins, some small tree branches, and stacked books to add visual interest and whimsy. For this tutorial, I decided to style my vintage steamer trunk that doubles as storage and a coffee table in my dorm.


1. The Brownie camera is a late 1940s piece my roommate bought at the National Camera Exchange.

2. The alarm clock is a Pottery Barn find that was made to look vintage.

3.  The iron key is a gift from a high school teacher of mine.

4. I got the pink lamp from Pottery Barn  at the same time as the clock.

5. I bought the votive candle holders at a Better Homes and Gardens prop sale this summer. I like how the set goes together but does not match.


Canvas Art Tutorial

Adding artwork to walls is a simple way to make a space personalized and interesting. For those of us who don’t have a couple hundred dollars lying around for artwork, canvas art is a cheap solution. All you need are five materials and about an hour to take your walls from drab to fab!



Step One:

On the blank canvas, I used a 14 X 11 in. canvas) stretch your painter’s tape horizontally across the canvas creating stripes. Stripes can be evenly spaced or varied widths.


Step Two:

With the acrylic paint and flat brush, fill in the lines you made. Choose a lighter color of paint so your writing or picture can be seen over the paint. Then, let the paint dry and remove the painter’s tape.


Step Three:

With the charcoal, draw an image or write out your favorite quote. Be careful where you place your hands because the  charcoal smudges easily.


Voila! You have your own personal artwork to hang.

Good luck,


Go Bold with Brass

We are bringing back brass! Brass is a metal that has a golden color. Brass can either be polished, more reflective, or dull.  I enjoy brass accessories because they pop against wood and other natural materials.  By purchasing a few, inexpensive, accessories like mirrors, lamps, or trays, you can bring this trend to your home in a snap!