Filed In: Interiors

Bar Cart Inspiration

Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home ChicagoImage via

For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about updating my bar cart for spring. My bar cart is easily one of my favorite pieces of furniture in my apartment. It was one of my first big purchases when I moved into my first solo apartment (and probably the least expensive piece of furniture at Jayson Home). But, since I’ve been styling it basically the same way for the last several years, I’m ready for a change.

Here is how it looks now:

Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago   Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago

This was my inspiration image — I already had the Chicago version of the Ork poster and liked the rustic look:

Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago Image via

Before I start updating, I wanted to look around for some new inspiration. Here are a few bar carts that seem fresh and modern:

Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago  Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home ChicagoImages via

Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago

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Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago

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Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home ChicagoImage via

Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago

Image via

Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home ChicagoImage via

Bar Cart Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago

Image via

Up tomorrow — a few ideas to get the look!

Light Fixture Inspiration

Lighting Inspiration | Sweet Home ChicagoImage via | Shop the look

Well, it’s probably obvious, but I’ve had trouble keeping up with blogging recently. I LOVE doing it, but figuring out what to do with my life has taken up a lot of time the last couple weeks. I’m hoping to get back to posting every day next week, but would love to hear what you think is working and what’s not!  What do you want to see more of?  Thanks:)

I’ve lived in my apartment for almost exactly two years and despite the laminate countertops, non-stainless steel appliances and dated tile, I love it. The location is perfect for me and I don’t feel like the closets are completely overloaded (yet). But, for the entire time, one thing has seriously bothered me: the light fixtures. There are three of these. I literally look at them every day and cringe. So, when I think about apartment projects to tackle, replacing them is at the top of the list.

Now, some people don’t see the point of making their own improvements to a rental. Not surprisingly, I have the opposite view. Around the time I stopped living with roommates, I became obsessed with the website Apartment Therapy (one of the original home design blogs) and happened to read the founder’s book, The Eight Step Home Cure.  The book is full of great tips, but there is one I’ve relied on for the last five years: don’t be afraid to spend the equivalent of your monthly rent each year you live in a rental to make it feel like a home.

Yes, it’s a way to justify spending money, but it also makes sense. For example, in my last apartment, the closets were terrible. The shelves were sagging and they were so poorly constructed that the doors wouldn’t shut properly. They annoyed me so much on a daily basis that I was tempted to look for a new place after a year. Instead, I negotiated with the landlords to install a new closet system. I designed it, told them what the total price would be and coordinated the installation. All I asked was that they pay half of the total, which was about $500. Even though I several hundred dollars on a closet system I couldn’t take with me to my next place, I still think I ended up with a great deal because I liked the apartment so much that I stayed for two more years (and saved money by not moving to a more expensive place).

So what does all this mean for the hideous flush mounts? I’m willing to spend a little (but no where near a month’s rent!) to put in light fixtures that will make me love my apartment even more. I’m leaning toward inexpensive (but better looking) flush mounts for the hallway and the kitchen, but I want to do a little bit more in the dining area. So, as I try to convince my landlord to pay for the installation, I’ve been looking at inspiration from around the blogosphere.  I love the look above, but I’m hoping to spend less than $200. What do you like best?

Lighting Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago

Image via | Shop the look

Lighting Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago

Image via | Shop the look

Lighting Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago  Lighting Inspiration | Sweet Home Chicago

Image via | Shop the look                                    Image via | Shop the look (hint: West Elm!)

Endless Etsy Pillow Combinations

Pillow Inspiration - Sweet Home Chicago

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If you follow me on Pinterest or Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I have a slight obsession with pillows. Similar to my black shirt / jeans uniform, the furniture anchoring my apartment is relatively neutral, so, just as I do with necklaces and scarves, I rely on pillows and other accessories for pops of color. And since pillow covers are relatively inexpensive, it feels like I am constantly rotating and replacing them.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of my favorites from around the blogosphere (like the palm print shown above) on Etsy, so I wanted to come up with a few combinations — by mixing and matching Etsy pillows — to help you freshen up any room in your house for under $200!

But first, a few tips! Even though my couch is relatively small (I bought the “apartment” size when I lived in a studio), I prefer to have five pillows: two 20/22 inch, two 16/18 inch and one lumbar or statement pillow for the middle. And, although my pairs are 20 inches and 18 inches, I think it looks best when there is a four-inch difference.

In the round-up below, I’ve combined groupings of three pillows that I think would work well together, but almost all of them can be mixed and matched with each other!

Interchangeable Etsy Pillow Combinations - Sweet Home Chicago

1 // 2  // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15

What do you think? Are there other combinations that might work better? (I spent hours playing around with the combinations, so there are definitely others that work!)

A Slightly Nautical Nursery

I have to admit that until I started doing e-designs, I hadn’t paid much attention to nurseries, but now I’m about as obsessed as you can be without actually having a kid. I even went into Land of Nod for the first time last week and OH MY GOD I wanted everything for myself. Gold dot sheets? Yes, please. (I’m serious. If they remotely matched my current bedding, I would have already bought them.)  My new niece or nephew is going to have the cutest sleeping nook ever.

A friend let me loose on an e-design for her new son and said she had thought about nautical, but would consider any theme. After a little browsing, I came across this and decided to build the decor around it. The final design includes some nautical elements, but they’re subtle and can be easily swapped out to incorporate her son’s interests as he gets older.

Nautical Nursery

Dream Big Banner // Surfer Print // Rope Mirror // Crib // Crib Sheet // Anchor Pillow // Glider // Rug // Lamp // Dresser

Feel free to email me if you need help finishing (or starting) a room!