On fashioning a beautiful home

Sometimes I’m too quick to want a beautiful home but not quick enough to want to create that beautiful home. And I know that may sound silly and yes, it’s not true all the time. And maybe it’s even a bit lame to admit that, but when you work from home and spend a lot of that time online, dreaming new product designs or researching fabric or connecting with customers, it’s easy to feel creatively zapped once six o’clock hits.

Does that surprise you?

Gosh, I hope not. I know it can’t be that hard to create a beautiful home. Many of my friends share simple + easy tips on creating an imperfect, beautiful home.

Finally one day I sat myself down and had a serious talk. With myself. Yes, myself.

I told myself, “Maggie, don’t make this harder than it needs to be. You only need a few things to create a beautiful mantle that loves you, too. Now go on, get started!”

And so I did. I gathered inspiration from my friend Lisa’s mantle + added in some of my own pretties that make me feel happy. I wanted our home to be relaxing once six o’clock came, but still inspiring enough that I felt encouraged to dream + play during non-work hours.

A friend mailed me a darling string of paper garland she made + I knew that would be the finishing touch to our living room’s decor. To creating that beautiful home.

Sometimes decorating our living room feels super hard because of the dark, original wood details or the old {that doesn’t work anymore} fireplace, but since we rent I know these are things I need to work around.

Fashioning our home in a style that makes me proud is a home decorating challenge I find myself in often. I think because I spend so much time with fabric + zippers I forget how much fun it is to work in a new medium, like books + candlesticks. Do you have any decorating challenges in your home that you’ve been able to creatively work through?

Here are three quick tips to decorating your home:

1. Simple.

Look for SIMPLE DECORATIONS that add to your decor or family life, verses taking away from your decor or family life.

2. Unique.

Shop the house for a UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE. What do you already have that just needs to be used differently? Like books, I took the covers off + turned them around so the pages were showing.

3. Color.

Consider adding POPS OF COLOR for a fresh, new look. Yellow lemons, green pears — yes, oh yes!

So, back to fashioning that beautiful home…

I can do that.

Oh look, I did! {happy squee}

So tell us, what decorating challenges have you been avoiding?


Maggie Hollinbeck lives in Northern California, and in addition to careers as a musical theatre actress and psychotherapist, she has turned her attention to her love of all domestic arts, especially traditional foods wisdom. She blogs about her journey at Maggie's Nest.

Encouragement for living simpler, right in your inbox.

We share our stories as we simplify our lives - no guilt-trips, just love.

(no spam, promise. we hate it, too.)


  1. You’ve done it again, Maggie! Fabulous do-able tips!

    My decorating challenge? My living room windows. Ugh! But, the wheels are starting to spin. In a few weeks I’ll paint the woodwork for starters. A few other ideas are simmering…we’ll see what happens with that. Hmmm….I think I feel an upcoming post coming on. Heehee!

    • I know this is probably overly used, but I recently made curtains for our bedroom windows, yet another “problem area” in our rental, but now I LOVE our bedroom even more. Sometimes the answer is right in front of us, we’re just too scared to make it happen. XO

  2. Really too many to list here, but I finally purchased some fabric to recover an ottoman I picked up for $5 at Goodwill.

  3. Way to go! I think your apartment has a ton of character and you have really given it a wow factor. Just over the weekend I decided to tackle a certain dinining room side table that I have been avoiding since Easter. I kept hesitating to do anything with it because I didn’t want to clutter it with a bunch of nonsense but it just kept staring at me blankly. It took about umpteen tries before I got it the way I wanted it but man was it worth it! I posted some pics of its evolution on Monday if ya wanna see! Thanks for always being and inspiration in ALL realms!

    • Thank you Charlotte!!! Thank you so much 🙂 And what a beautiful table area you’ve created, seriously. The colors are perdy perdy! xoxo

  4. I’ve definitely had a lousy attitude about our condo. It’s a rental, and the owners have not taken very good care of the carpet and walls (they drive me crazy)! I probably went back and forth for 6 months on whether to paint or not – and finally decided NOT to. Spending $100+ to paint someone else’s home wasn’t necessarily my idea of a wise investment. So I’m learning to be positive and plan for our next place, wherever and whatever it is 🙂 I’ve always heard the advice, “decorate your place the way you want, no matter how temporary” but sometimes you just have to be practical!

    Nook & Sea

    • …yes! Because for now {however long “now” lasts} your place IS your home! Thanks for your comment Kristina! xoxo

  5. Your post really resonates with me – not really enjoying my house but really trying to work with what I have. I often feel inspired mid-week and by the end of the weekend realize nothing has gotten done! For me it is the living room as well – it is tiny and I feel like no matter how much I pair down there is still too much going on. I’ve comitted to finding a new home for my sofa/chaise combo in favor of a better scaled love seat and chair. Thanks for the inspiration – I think I shall start with the mantle.

    • Yes! And how easy is it to hang around Pinterest but not DO anything that we see?! Way too easy. Good for you picking an area to tackle. And that’s so smart to search for a smaller love seat + chair. You should be proud :]

  6. Thanks fot this great post! 🙂

  7. I definitely know what you mean about wanting a beautiful home, but feeling too zapped to try! It’s so much easier to pin pictures on pinterest than to actually try to replicate them 🙂 We also live in a rental, so that’s a challenge. I use the pretty things I have, but I’m still working on creating an intentional, comfortable look.

    I love your fireplace by the way! And your paper garland is the perfect finishing touch!

    • Oh my gosh, thank you Emily! Yes I love the paper garland, it balances the books stacked and I love how cute + simple it is. Thanks for the comment :] xoxo

  8. I think you wrote this to me! I definitely struggle with all of this. I am not especially creative, and I often am too afraid to even start! I do love getting inspiration from others. Hopefully practice will make me bolder!

  9. Love your heart and your spirit here Maggie. Great tips for getting folks headed in the right direction to create a home they feel great in. <3

  10. I appreciate how you broke it down, just redoing one area of your house rather then an entire makeover. A mantle, tabletop etc is fairly simple to make up and can be so inspiring and give that fulfilling satisfaction without spending tons of money or time.

  11. I love how simple the lemon vase is…real or fake?

  12. Thanks for sharing this list,Your post really resonates with me .yours guest room is looking gorgeous.

Add Your Thoughts