Reader Question: Picking A Rug for My Space

Its been too long since I’ve tackled a reader question – so here goes. This one is from Kate in Stockholm:
This living room of mine in Stockholm needs a rug. Here is the question: Do I go dark to draw the space together, or lighter? Fluffy or patterned?
I have a mixture of earthy yet clean style but I love midcentury-mod and want to bring more of that in. Any thoughts overall for this living room?


photo 1msd

Ok, you are off to a good start – great gallery wall (I appreciate that it isn’t just a dinky collection right above the sofa) and your sofa/coffee table are really simple and easy to style with.

photo 2

So you have a few choices and it really depends on a few questions/answers:

1. How energetic do you want the space to feel? Right now there are no patterns, which is absolutely fine because you do have a lot going on the walls. But if you want the space full of energy then bringing in color/pattern would definitely achieve that. But if you want it to feel less energetic, more calm, then keep to a solid.

2. How low maintenance are you? I love a light rug, truly, but I’m not, well, clean enough to deal with them. Lighter rugs definitely make a room feel bigger, and this room doesn’t look that big to me so it could help. But going even more medium toned will be so much easier to care for. I have a white rug in my guest room that is BEAUTIFUL and far away from outdoor spaces, and isn’t used often, so its fine. And then in my master bedroom, where I REALLY wanted a light-colored rug I bought this quilted hide because cowhides are pretty much indestructible. You just wipe them off with a wet towel. They are also not terribly cozy, as you can imagine, but they reflect the light in such a pretty way and allow you to have white without the maintenance of white.

So here are some that I like that could look really nice in your place – some more affordable than others. Again, if you like a big high contrast pattern then these might not be the right selection, but I think that in a small space with all the art on the walls that a big high contrast pattern would make the space look small and busy.

The first group is soft texture without much pattern (so easy to hide dirt/stains, but not busy:


1. Safavieh Denim Jute, $199- $299 | 2. Vines Wool Rug, $169 – $999 | 3. Pencil Stripe Rug $195 – $895 4. Harper Denim Rug $195 – $945

Then if you can handle a bit more pattern, I’m pretty into these guys. Again, not toooo busy but busy enough that it adds more energy into the space:


5. Threshold Criss Cross rug $74.99 – $249.99 | 6. Painters Rug $595 – $1595  7. Beaded Rug $149 – $289 | 8. Loloi Rugs, Anzio $139.00 – $539.00 | 9. Scallop Rug, $99 – $199 | 10. Multi Pixel Rug $249 – $999.

Finally, if you want to splurge on a white cowhide, I love these guys very much:


11. Natural Hide Rug  $695 – $1900 | 12. Scallop cowhide $495 – $2950 |  Bristol Cowhide $713 | 14. Jasmine Cowhide $549 – $976

There you go, Kate! Hopefully you still read this blog because I can’t seem to find your original email. If anyone knows Kate from Stockholm tell her that I’ve finally answered her reader question.

To submit your reader questions, email them to  (also, hint, the better the photo and the more specific the question the easier/most likely it will be to get picked!)

Trolling Craigslist… Madison, WI!

Madison, Wisconsin is actually somewhere I’ve always wanted to go to. A lot of people say its like my college town, Eugene, Or, and just a really fun/liberal little oasis in the middle of a quiet state. Meanwhile, now all I see is some really great thrifting. So lets get on trolling …

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.37.02 PM

trolling craigslist madison vintage rope lamp

1. $50 Vintage Rope Lamp This is awesome and weird and I want it REALLY bad for my house. Its modern and simple, but with rope makes it feel all warm and scandy.

2. $195 Vintage Campaign Dresser Yes, we are still doing this. I have a white one and have used a couple in different projects and I still really love them. This one isn’t cheap but its cheaper than a new dresser and wildly cooler. Plus that is a goooooood color.

3. $50 Pair of Mid Century Chairs Oh, its just a cute little pop of color for your breakfast nook. I’m not wild about the legs, but the shape of the chairs and that bright color make up for them. Plus they are $25 each and thats nothing to be mad at.

4. $95 Hanging Bamboo Chair Great price, classic chair, just overall wonderful. You can buy these new for $400 but obviously that is quite the price difference. I’ve used one in a few different projects, namely HERE.

trolling cl madison industrial desk and chairs

5. $20 Per Industrial Chair Such a great price for pretty adorable chairs. So perfect for a creative office space.

6. $300 Industrial Desk I love your shape but not your price. Too expensive, but would be such a cute entry table, right?

trolling cl madison settee and hamock

7. $75 Vintage Settee  Pretty darn cute. Expect that to be around 8 – 10 yards of fabric, and probably $600 – $800 to recover. Expensive, sure, but cheaper than most new sofas. I’d take off that skirt, for sure. This could be cute in a poppy color, or go safe with a navy or charcoal.

8. $30 Vintage Hammock So cute. Paint that base white and throw the hammock in the wash and you have a really adorable napping place for the spring.

trolling cl madison headboard and chairs

9. $75 Vintage Iron Headboard I love the shape of this headboard and it could be awesome in black.

10. $450 for a set of 6 Mid Century Chairs Beautiful. Kinda expensive, but again, cheaper than buying new except for Ikea. I think if you could get for $400 for the set it would be better, but I’m into them regardless.

trolling cl madison mcm chest

11. $80 Pair of Vintage Whicker Chairs A steal. Such a cute shape and at $40 a pop it is an insane deal. Go get ‘em.

12. $150 Mid Century Credenza I’m not freaking out about this guy, but it is a good simple shaped dresser for a really good price.

trolling cl madison brass table

13. $75 Brass Vintage Table Set Now I AM freaking out about those chairs. Take them away from the table, reupholster them in a more modern color, and maybe get rid of the ‘fan’ detailing in the back upholstery. The shape of the base of the chairs is RIDICULOUS. So simple.

14. $40/ Set of 4 Mid Century Dining Chairs AGHHH. Such a good price for a lot of personality. $10 a chair? Are you kidding? Amazing.

15. $75 Pair of Mid Century Chairs. Yep. So cute. LOVE. At first I thought that the part on the top was an upholstery detail but I now realize its for your head to keep your greasy hair off the actual chair. And that is gross. Just wash your hair and get rid of that guard.

Pretty good, Madison. Pretty good. Where to next?

New vintage Items for sale on Chairish

My emotional problem (of not being able to pass up awesome vintage pieces) is once again your potential benefit. These pieces have already been shot and while I love them, they can’t just sit in storage any longer. It’s criminal that these gems just sit in the dark; and more importantly I need to prove to myself and others that I don’t have emotional relationships with inanimate objects.

So, friends, I have three items for you up for grabs at VERY good prices. The thing about Chairish is that it’s not necessarily for dealers – it’s for people like me (or maybe you) who want to sell quality vintage pieces for some money, without the hassle of Craigslist people. You use your app (if you are on your phone you can download it here), upload the pieces with measurements,  they put it on a white background and you are done. They take a percentage (20%) and shipping is either coordinated by the buyer (if its local) or white glove if it’s not (meaning that you just point to the piece of furniture and they wrap it and take it away). Anyway, its easy and awesome and more fun than Craigslist if they are pieces that actually have value.  If you are trying to unload 5-year-old Ikea furniture then this isn’t the place.

It’s the place for pieces like these:


Chairish Items for Sale

Vintage Blue Lacquer Waterfall Desk with Lucite Handles:

This desk is a beast; a beautiful 80’s curvy beast. Kinda like Pamela Anderson. It is a solid piece and commands the attention of any room. It’s probably late 70’s early 80’s but its been professionally redone in a modern color. The drawers do work which provide some great storage and the handles are lucite. I had it lacquered this dark blue color not too long ago but it does have a bit of “love” and wear and tear to it just from being moved around and general use, but it is very minimal.




Vintage Navy and Brass Chair, I’VE GOT THREE OF THESE:

navy and brass chair

Oh the shape of that back. When I found them on CL I just knew I had to have them. I kept one in my guest room for Brian’s home office and we both love it.  The shape, the size, the color … all sooo good. I do want to warn you that it is a vintage piece so the foam isn’t as strong as it used to be and you do sink in a bit when you sit in it, with that said it doesn’t make it any less functional. The seat height is 17″ which is a couple of inches lower than usual. It doesn’t bother us. I just want to make sure that you are aware of it and don’t get it and are like that stupid Emily scammed me into buying a chair that’s too short. They could also work at a breakfast table, in a corner, as a club chair, etc. IF you are interested in all four I will consider adding mine to the threesome for a total of $1200 for the set, otherwise I’m selling them (at a steal) at $250 each. (To see the rest of the guest room click HERE).

You can see another peek of it in this shot, too.


I don’t have a shot of the teal chairs in a finished space but they did make it in a few instagrams:


The reason I’m selling them is that we wanted 6 matching chairs in the studio and these guys were feeling bulky, plus they weren’t in our new color palette (see a sneak peek into the studio here). THEN I sold one to the office space that is being upholstered in custom fabric that we painted. The fabric is in pretty perfect shape, and these chairs are SOOOOO comfortable. I broke up the set because they are pretty heavy and you’d have to have a pretty big office in order to be able to pull off all four, so they are best for three different offices with big desks Like CEO kinda offices. $250 is a VERY good price for these. I mean you can’t even buy a quality new upholstered office chair from a mass retailer for that, let alone a unique commanding and cozy chair like this. My friend Jen who I sold it to says that its like she’s being hugged all day.

While we are at it here are some of my favorites and there is ALWAYS good stuff:

chairish favorites


Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 2.31.03 PM

Here’s a link to all my favorites.  Also here’s my extra plug for Chairish - its honestly not just about you shopping and buying. I have purchased from them (Jens desk for which is so beautiful) but I really love the selling part because it’s so easy. Some of the other pricing is too high in my opinion (the seller chooses the price) but if you go on in the morning you can get some good stuff from people like me that just need to get rid of stuff and are trying to make their money back  – not necessarily double it. Buying to sell for profit is a whole different beast and one that I’m not interested in right now, so I buy to use for clients/shoots/studio and then once its kinda been seen enough and I don’t have a place for it, then its time to go. And I can get more for it on Chairish than Craigslist or a garage sale.

The point is, you can do this, too. Don’t think you have to be a fancy dealer. YES, they have to approve your pieces but if they are decent quality vintage or lightly used newer pieces then you should be good.

Meanwhile, buy my awesome pieces so I have more room in storage to buy more. Here are the links again: blue waterfall desk, teal desk chairs, navy and brass desk or club chairs  and here’s a link to everything i’m selling.

Desk photos by Zeke Ruelas, guest room/office photos by Tessa Neustadt 

Styling Video #1 – How to style with neutrals

AHHH! The first styling video is live, folks. And its all about neutrals … Check it out, and let me know what you think!

104702_Neutral_Full Environment_0005

Neutrals tones are like the Meryl Streep of colors – classic, easy to look at, warm, inviting, timeless, and yet can be full of personality. Sure, they can be boring, but even me, LOVER OF ALL CRAZY COLORS, loves a well styled neutral room. And that’s what this video is all about, folks. Enjoy!

I know a lot of people who don’t love color like I do and they want things to feel softer, less popppy/graphic, less contrasty, more warm, textured, sophisticated and yes, full of neutral colors. Just so you know neutral tones are in the ‘whites, ivory, cream, gray, taupe, black’ world. Beige on beige on beige is boring, of course, but with some tips that I talk about in this video you learn how to have that neutral toned living room that is still FULL of personality and feels totally finished. Like, Meryl.


For the Target videos my goal was to use just Target and then vintage or found items that are easy to source, mixed in with some of my personal pieces (like my birdcage ladder that I will save from a fire I love so much) and the weird found piece of graffitied wood – which is neutral but has a lot of energy.

Threshold Black Metal Pillar Candle Holder, $9.99 – $16.99, Threshold Starburst Mirror (no longer sold, but similar, $39.99), Nate Berkus Metal Feather Box, $14.99Threshold 13” Wooden Lantern, $24.99


One of my tips with neutrals is that anything natural kinda tends to be neutral but its sculptural and has a lot of life to it. Feathers, eggs (uh, that is a HUGE blown egg, by the way), driftwood, shells, rocks, etc, are all one of a kind sculptures that have a lot of energy to them. When styled in a shelf like below they add so much life for practically no money. Or put them in cloches (these are from Target Smith & Hawken Glass Dome Cloche, $29.99).

That little white and gold polka dot vase technically isn’t supposed to be in that shot by the way. I love it though and have like 3 of them. Meanwhile the gold and cement vases are some of my favorite pieces because they feel really sleek and masculine for vases and as a trio create a really pretty collection.

Second row: Smith & Hawken Glass Dome Cloche, $29.99. Bottom row: Threshold Gold & Cement Vase, $9.99 – $19.99; Threshold Gold-Spotted Stone Vase, $6.99 (large version here, $24.99) Threshold Braided Basket with Handles, $14.99 The white vases in the third row don’t come out til Spring but they are from Target as well. 

target mantel styling

Naturally I had to bring some things from home (pictures, personal items, etc) so during this series you are going to find random pictures of Brian and I from when we first met, you know when we were CHILDREN.


Threshold pierced patterned hurricane candle holder 9″, $9.99- $14.99, Threshold Agate bookends, Threshold Hammered Large Serving Bowl with Gold Finish, $19.99, Bottom Row: Nate Berkus for Target, asymmetry photo frame, $12.99. The wood bowl, pottery vessel and wood clothes pin are all mine/vintage.


mantel - target

I love that wood/gold lantern, enough to put a vessel in it and turn it into a vase even. We are very sneaky like that.


Nate Berkus for Target, faux fur stool, $54.99 Threshold gold chevron pillow, $24.99 Nate Berkus for Target, decorative pillow – novelty shell, $24.99


And while the above shot wasn’t how we styled the room, obviously, we wanted to do a pretty still life of all the neutral pillows from the new collection that I love. And yes, that macrame hanging mirror amazingness is vintage, mine, and unfortunately I don’t know where you can get another. Sad, I know. 

Threshold woven bench – brown and white, $99.99, Nate Berkus for Target, decorative pillow – novelty shell, $24.99 Threshold quilted velvet decorative pillow – velvet cream, $24.99 Threshold gold embroidered pillow, $19.99 Threshold trellis embroidered pillow – yellow and white, $24.99, Threshold gold chevron pillow, $24.99


Coffee tableThreshold criss cross rug, Nate Berkus black/white pillow  Nate Berkus metal wing bowl. 

104702_Neutral_Full Environment_0005

On the floor by the fireplace: Threshold 13” Wooden Lantern, $24.99, Threshold 15” Gold Lantern, $24.99 and up in the shelves: 

Shelving on the left: First row (from top): Threshold Decorative Rope Basket in Shell, $19.99, Second row: Threshold Wood Pillar Candle Holder, $12.99 – $19.99, Threshold Hammered Large Serving Bowl with Gold Finish, $19.99, Threshold pierced patterned hurricane candle holder 9″, $9.99- $14.99, Third row: Nate Berkus for Target, antique mirror tray, $29.99, Nate Berkus for Target, asymmetry photo frame, $12.99, Fourth row, Threshold Decorative Bowl in White and Gold, $19.99, Threshold Starburst Mirror – 3 pieces, $24.99, Threshold wooden centerpiece tray, $24.99, Threshold Set of 3 Decorative Fall Figurines in Gold, $22.99

So here I was the next morning, minutes before the shoot – action shot of me playing with pillows, about to drink more coffee, hoping that I don’t, you know, fail.


It looks just like a pretty living room, right? But nah, folks, it’s even more impressive than that because it’s a huge set made to look like a pretty living room. So, what do you guys think? As the videos go along I think that they just get better and better because I got more and more relaxed so if you are into this then just wait :)

Video in partnership with Target, hair and makeup by Danielle Walch, wardrobe styling by Jordan Rudd

Trolling Craigslist… Toronto!

Shockingly good this week. I’ve never been to Toronto but we went to Montreal for our Honeymoon and liked it. You know, because all Canadian cities are the same. Lets troll.

trolling CL toronto

trolling CL toronto yellow lamp

1. $100 Mid Century Industrial Desk Lamp You should be $80 but I like your shape and style a lot.

2. $150 Thonet Style Rocking Chair If only you were gold, you pretty curvy lady.

3.  $170 Brass Side Table and Shelf That side table is ridiculous in its round simplicity. The shelf could be hideous in person but if styled right  it could be great: think big pretty books, awesome pottery, graphic simple shapes in a larger space … oh and a bar, duh.

trolling CL toronto sets of chairs

4. $300 Pair of Whicker Shell Chairs Yes. And while this sounds expensive it’s actually a pretty good price for these two chairs. They can go inside, on a porch anchoring a corner and just being generally a really playful shape.

5. $80 Pair of Vintage Iron Chairs How dare you, you say? I see potential in these cheap little bastards. Naturally I want the black to be white, (‘sup spray paint) but keep that weird mint. They are 80’s certainly, but pair with a really simple white tulip style table (the Ikea a or CB2 versions aren’t very expensive. I wish they were $40 for the pair and not $80 because I bet these bad boys look like garbage in person. But I’ve been marathoning The Carrie Diaries (RIP) and so the 80’s are definitely speaking to me lately.

trolling CL toronto lighting

6. $95 Vintage Mushroom Lamp Yes. You can use it anywhere that you need a more modern element to make you look/feel/seem cool. Go mod or go home. Why oh, why would i ever write that sentence? 

7. $150 Mid Century Teak Chair GREAT. I’m not sure if it needs to be recovered but either way its a great chair for a good price.

8. $300 Vintage Brass Chandelier That sucker looks BIG. Just put some huge white (or clear) round bulbs on it and call it a night. Huge chandeliers are really expensive and there are a lot of big houses out there that need big chandeliers, so if you are one of those people, and you live in Toronto, then get online.

trolling CL toronto brass lamps

9.  $30 Bamboo Table Set Steal of the day. I bought this set for the Airbnb event in Austin and then had it sent back because it is so good. I ditched the table and use the chairs as just extra seating on my patio. I love them very much.

10. $200 Brass Floor & Table Lamp Yes, totally. Not sure why one of them has a harp, but I’m interested regardless.

11.  $50 Set of 4 Brass Parsons Chairs DUUUUUUUHHHH. Ah man. These are an insane deal. If I had a reason for needing them right now I would buy them and have them shipped. But I don’t and I’m working on not hoarding things from other countries.

trolling CL toronto folding chairs and lamp

12. $65 Pair of Vintage Folding Chairs I have four of these in mint that I bought 4 years ago at the flea market and showed you how I used them in my foyer in our old foyer HERE.  They are just so cute. I’m assuming they were something really common a long time ago that were used for events, but if anyone knows anything about them please tell me.

13. $125 Vintage Chrome Table Lamp Too expensive but I love it. Again, brass that thing and it would be just so much happier (p.s. brass plating is expensive  – I’ve been looking around and will write a post once I find a way to do it in an affordable way).

14. $40 Vintage Rolling Desk Chair If this were in LA I would buy it RIGHT NOW for Jen’s chair in the project (which we are 80% done with and its KINDA awesome). Trying to figure out how to pay for it and ship it from Toronto sounds so annoying, but the shape is wonderful and once recovered (in a custom fabric) it would be marvelous. Shoot, I think I’m talking myself into it right now.

15. $80 Vintage Apothecary Cabinet This one you’ll need to see in person because it could be garbage, just garbage in person. But it could possibly be a good little industrial sideboard in your house that everyone talks about. Hell, you could even put it on some pin legs.

Can’t get enough Craigslist? Check out past Trolling Craigslist posts HERE.