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interior design

Home Living

Four Elements of the Perfect Vignette

February 12, 2016

If you’ve been with me for awhile now here on SST you are well versed in my love for organizing. Something about it gives me an almost palpable sense of satisfaction, and once you start, you can’t stop. Or I can’t, anyway. 

Organizing comes in handy especially when creating the perfect vignette. As a small collection of items arranged together, a vignette accomplishes a few things: 1) transforms a flat surface into something visually appealing; 2) allows you to display many different odds and ends that you’ve acquired over the years; and finally 3) offers endless opportunities to arrange, rearrange, and then arrange again, letting your inner OCD freak run wild with reckless abandon.

Vignettes are also super trendy right now, and everybody is droning on and on about a damn vignette. So we should too.

Here are my key elements to create the perfect vignette:

tea set2

 1. Balance. A vignette doesn’t need to be symmetrical — although I always gravitate towards symmetry in design — but the items that make up the vignette need to be cohesive. Cohesiveness makes for a beautiful arrangement/magazine-ready look. Here the items on the silver tray (yes Mom I know that needs to be polished) are arranged neatly between the two glass hurricanes, which happily flank the two hummingbird prints above. All items in this vignette sing the same song. I think they are singing a particularly invigorating rendition of Benny and the Jets.

tea set

 2. Levels. Imagine your vignette is a stadium and that each item needs to be able to see out (or in this case, be seen) from all levels, giving each piece the attention it’s due. Arrange the tallest/largest items in the back,and then layer in smaller items towards the front in an arrangement that creates harmony. Yes items can be harmonious. Work with me here. 

coffee table

3. Grouping. Choose a variety of different items and group together. Seems overly simplistic, but not all items should go together. Choose the ones that complement each other without one hogging all of the attention. Here we have an antler shed Wilson found, some magazines, a plate, a candle, some flowers and a large fake shell. I fumbled around with them for a bit until I arrived at an arrangement that suited me.

side table

 4. Stacking. Vignettes are all about the stack. Sorry the photo is a tad crooked. Stacking things on top of one another is one of my favorite ways to organize shit together, and it’s also a great way to create a tasteful vignette.

Et voilà. Now I know all of you just cannot wait to get home to use my extraordinarily useful advice in creating your very own vignettes, but first thing’s first: pour yourself a glass of wine. Interior design is always better with wine.

Actually, isn’t everything?

Home Living

Recycled Wall Plates

July 15, 2015


It’s been awhile since Wilson and I completed any real updating to our little apartment, but this past weekend we decided to be adults and do adult things. Like, do laundry. And change the air filter.

And — hang plates on wallsThe pinnacle of maturity. You know you are an adult when you think, instead of using this to for food, let’s hang this plate on a wall. 

Remember these white plates from my master bedroom wall in Charlotte? I bought them for $5 a piece at Sleepy Poet, my long lost Queen City BFF. They’ve been stuck under my bed for the past year because I couldn’t decide where to hang them.

bed at angle

bedside table

But I found a place. They now flank a map in our living room. And I have to say, they look like they belong.

living room

 I love symmetry and these plates satiate my OCD in the best way possible.



And because I liked the way I’d arranged my coffee table on this particular day, here’s a photo of that too.

So, what do you have in your house that you can recycle to use again? If you buy things you love, you’ll always find a place to put them – like here at Even $5 white plates.

Home Living

Five Ways to Style a Coffee Table

January 6, 2015

Ah, my OCD is rearing it’s ugly head again.

A few months ago I received this email from my father:

From: Brooks Boyd <>
Date: October 2, 2014 at 6:34:22 PM EDT
To: Anna Boyd <>
Subject: Couch
I read your post about couch, nice. Didn't want to send comment for everyone to see, but the coffee table has too many books/magazines. 
Looks like the return book cart at the library. Can't wait to stretch out on the new couch!!!!!
Love ya!


No shortage of opinions at the Boyd household. Dad how did that work out about everyone not seeing your comments? 

But it did get me to thinking — that coffee table is a little full. So I asked Wilson. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Dad said our coffee table has too many books on it.

Wilson: THANK GOD someone finally said that. There are so many f&*king books on that damn table.

Me: So you agree?

Wilson: I can’t even put a beer down on that thing without bumping something over. It’s a coffee table not a book table.

Me: I thought it looked stylish.

Wilson: You know how I feel about stylish stuff.

Le sigh.

Here’s what it looked like below:

coffee table

 That is totally stylish. Sorry I’m not sorry.

coffee table 2

 And from above…

But the men in my life had spoken. So the books had to go. Wah. 

But here’s the problem: I can’t decide how to style the table now. I bought this big shell dish thing that is very pretty but just looks kind of odd on the table. Wilson told me the shell looked “very me” — ? — but I think he was just glad to finally have a flat surface upon which to place his beer. Little victories.  

So I need your help. Please tell me which option you like best.

Option 1: Shell thingy by itself

whole room

 Pardon the lingering Christmas décor. These photos were taken two weeks ago. Yes, I’ve been waffling that long.


shell above

 Pretty, right? But doesn’t it look a little lonely? Or am I just used to having 100 things on this table and that’s why I think that? Yes, this is how many questions I ask myself over a decision. I was told a few months ago I over-analyze things. Eureka!

Option 2: Shell Thing Plus a FEW Books

shell styling 2

 Shell looks a little less lonesome, but the books just don’t quite fit.

styling 2

shell detail

the props

 These were my props for styling.

Option 3: Shell with Books and Antler

number 4

 I chose a different stack of books to see what that looked like. In fact, am thinking about changing the top itself to one of the Cut My Plastic adorable pieces. I love the book at the top of the stack — titled The Joy of Life, it’s a beautiful abstract art book I found in a teeny bookstore in New Orleans.

number 4 again

number 4 trois

Option 3 is good, but it just doesn’t scream winner winner chicken dinner to me.

Option 4: Wilson’s Choice

wilsons turn

 And because he thinks he can do everything, Wilson decided to take a go at styling our coffee table.

“It’s so simple,” he said. I’m not sure if he meant his choice of décor or styling a table, but I didn’t agree with either of them.

wilson 2

And finally,

Option 5: The Current Sitch


Blue willow plate + pink tulips + candle + shell = success?

tulips again

I think I like this option the best.

tulip style vertical

option 5 full

 So what do y’all think? Which option is your favorite? Leave me a comment and help s’il vous plait as I am rife with indecision.

Home Living

Good Quality, Inexpensive Rugs

July 29, 2014

My friend Molly reached out to me the other day to get some SST suggestions on inexpensive rugs. Smart girl. Molly and her husband are currently doing a major renovation on their house, thereby increasing their home equity, stress levels and drinking habits. I’m just guessing about the last two from my previous #reno experience. And of course, once you renovate your house, you have to renovate your furniture, too. The old stuff in a new house just suddenly looks… sad. 

As per Molly, she wants some rugs that aren’t crazy expensive because she’s about to spend a small fortune on them as their house is all hardwoods. I feel bad for you, really I do. Here’s the thing about rugs — they are all expensive. Even the cheaper ones aren’t still that good of a deal — it’s most upsetting. But I’ve found a few good ones — some of which I actually own and love — that are good quality and will last through the wear and tear of shoes, feet and paws. Molly has the cutest dog, Sadie. 


Handwoven Casual Sisal Natural Seagrass Rug

 This rug from Overstock was a great purchase I made for our dining room at our old house. It now covers the floor in our apartment’s living room. Great sturdy rug that doesn’t show dirt. On sale today for $199 for an 8×10.

Handmade Geometric Flat Weave Gray Wool Rug

Another great rug from Overstock that I bought for our master bedroom. The colors are really muted so the print isn’t too much and it’s pretty soft on the feet too. $441.

 Cow rug

Teehee I had to throw the cow in. I love the look of a rawhide rug layered over a sisal one like the first one listed above. Very farm chic. 

Handwoven Natural Fiber Jute Rug

 Another Overstock special. Great 5×8 jute rug for $81. The only thing about jute rugs (and sisal for that matter) is that dogs love to pee on them because they are technically grass. So Molly, if Sadie has an issue with mistaking rugs for grass — Wilson has trouble with it too — I’d stay away from them.

Blue and White Flatweave Rug

 This rug from One Kings Lane would be a great runner for a hallway. $145 for a runner.

Brinley Flat Weave Rug
 LOVE. Another One Kings Lane find. $379.

 Great Ikea rug for cheaaaaap. $99 for 5×8.

So whatcha think? Are you ready to trade in your crummy old rugs for one of these?

Also don’t forget to enter the SST Beautycounter giveaway — click here to enter to win a free Every Day AM Face Lotion — it’s like butter, seriously, feels so goooood — and if you’d like to order some Beautycounter things from Jennifer, click here, the link in the original post is wrong. Everyone has their moments… #oy come on anna…

Home Living

How To Create a Gallery Wall

April 23, 2014

A great gallery wall can really change a space. As a collection of your favorite photos, frames and objects, a gallery wall transforms a blank wall into a showcase for the things you love most.

Wall at angle

I created this gallery wall in the little hallway between our master bedroom and bathroom. Hidden by a pocket door, this secret spot possesses some of my most favorite photos of Wilson’s and my friends and family.

The day I hung these frames Wilson was out of town. This was not a coincidence. As another installment in the series Anna and Wilson Have Different Tastes, Wilson is an extremely analytical person — everything has a formula and can be solved by math — and he INSISTS on measuring EVERYTHING when hanging a picture on a wall. From the width of the frame to the middle of the wall to the outside of the molding in relation to only God knows what, Wilson’s hanging habits are less than desirable in my opinion. I hate math.

If the world went my way — what a wonderful world this would be — there would be no measuring involved when hanging pictures on a wall. No, if I ruled the world, all pictures could be hung willy-nilly and it wouldn’t matter how many holes you put in the wall, you could just cover them up with another picture and your husband wouldn’t get mad at you.  Happy hour would also be all 24 hours of the day instead of just one if I ruled the world, but I supposed that’s neither here nor there…

wall front

Fortuitously for me, that weekend I did rule the world as far as I was concerned because Wilson was out of town and so I hung these frames as haphazardly and un-analytically as humanly possible.

I used these frames from Target cheap, durable — and put my favorite pictures in the frames. I had an image in my mind of how I wanted the overall wall to look, so I used that to create the collection of frames. I used an imaginary “equator” in the middle to dictate how I arranged the photos and put the largest frames in the middle, complemented by the smaller (cheaper) frames on the outside. I laid the frames down on the floor, arranged them around the equator about two inches apart on all sides and took a picture of it so I could remember my handiwork.

Then the bad part started.

For the six frames on this wall, I made an average of two holes per picture. I was a hot mess with a hammer. Thankfully the pictures cover up my indiscretions, however the next homeowner is going to be most confused and/or upset. As will Wilson.

me and wilson

This is one of my favorite pictures of me and Wilson. We were at Wilson’s fraternity formal in college, hence Wilson’s multiple buttons unbuttoned, the red solo cup and the fist pump in the background. Epic brah.

other wall

More of my favorite pictures with my favorite people.

long wall again

Regardless of how Wilson may feel about the wall and the holes behind it, I considered it a job well done. Snaps for Anna.

I researched other gallery walls that I liked that were executed differently than mine, and compiled the selection below for you to peruse. -- Gallery Wall


This gallery wall really does look like a wall at an art gallery. Created with different frames, photos and art pieces, this wall is colorful and happy without being too busy. Just busy enough. -- Gallery Wall w White Frames


This wall is Wilson’s analytical dream. Same-sized frames and perfectly placed equidistantly, this is a clean, distinctive look. Me likey. -- Gallery Walls


I love this gallery wall! I’ve wanted to do one like this on our staircase but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet because I’m nervous it could create some serious drama in our household. Can you imagine how many holes I would make? Can you imagine the amount of gray hairs Wilson would give me with all the measuring? Oy. I’m tired just thinking about it. I need some time to figure out how to pull this one off…

Have you attempted a gallery wall? Are you a serial hole-maker like me? Leave me a comment so we can chat about this important topic…

Home Living

The Elephant in the Room

November 11, 2013

I found this gold elephant at Target last week and just adore him. He is a member of the Nate Berkus collection — oh Nate… In an effort to exercise extreme self-control — see here — I did not buy him, but because he was only $10, I may go back…

Here’s a board I put together if I was going to decorate a room around the elephant. None of the other items are in my plastic fork budget, but we’ll just classify them as inspiration.


1. Nate Berkus candles candleholder  2. HAY black furniture  3. Heathfield Co rectangular lamp shade  4. Teakwood table  5. Abstract wall art  6. Mills Floral Company boxwood plant  7. Sunburst wall art  8. Linea table lamp  9. Serena Lily cable knit blanket

Speaking of inspiration, I would like to say an enormous thank you to all U.S. veterans. Your bravery, courage and tireless commitment to preserving our freedom is nothing short of remarkable, and inspires me everyday. Thank you for protecting the greatest country in the world, allowing us to do the things we love — like write this blog.