Category Archives: Mood Boards

Pinterest Mood Board: Asian sun room

It’s time for another free mood board on Pinterest! I pull these mood boards together from design finds I see when I am out working for clients. When I see something beautiful, it can inspire a whole feel, look or mood of a room. While every room in your home should reflect your life experiences and passions, everyone can use a little help every now and then finding that perfect item to make their room unique and personal. My free Pinterest mood boards are designed to inspire and make shopping a little less stressful.

This month’s mood board is designed to use in an inside/outside room, a sun room. Sun rooms are popular in every season because of their great connections to the outside world, without leaving the climate controlled peacefulness of an interior room. While the attraction of a sun room may be obvious, navigating a realistic design plan for such a room can be a little tricky. You don’t want it to feel like an outside space, like a porch or deck, filled with patio furnishings or picnic tables. But, you also don’t want a sun room to ignore the beauty of its star attraction: large, sunny windows.

On this mood board, I’ve used a design technique I use in sun rooms for clients all the time. Although this particular sun room is hypothetical, I am always careful in every sun room not to compete with Mother Nature’s work just outside the window. While I have chosen different textures and patterns for soft goods and hard surfaces, as every room requires, most of them are small in scale. The real focal point of any sun room should be the view.

I chose a transitional Asian style for this room to show that any room, regardless of its physical placement in a home, can be adapted to reflect the personal tastes of its owner. In this case, Asian motifs in a soft color palette of jade greens, cool blues and soft browns combine to compliment a similar natural palette beyond the room’s windows. This will also allow the room to feel connected to the outside view regardless of the season. The fact that the patterns and textures are pulled from many countries and periods of history combine to give the sun room a relaxed, yet artfully collected style.

As with any room, the decor may be fun, but the room has to work for the daily life of the home. I’ve included a great seating area for lounging, tv watching, and reading. I’ve also included a generous games table, perfect for card games and board games, as well as any seated or buffet dining that may be needed when entertaining guests. After all, what could is a gorgeous sun room if you can’t use it to host your friends and family?

Want to see more of this mood board? You can just click on the picture above, or right here to jump right to the board. You can also always check out all of the other mood boards and design finds I’ve collected on Pinterest by using the custom Pinterest button on the side bar of this blog, or you can click here right now.

Do you need some help with design or decor? Send your design dilemma to me in a comment and I might use it as inspiration for my next Pinterest mood board. I love a good challenge and I love to help people make their homes more happy. Share your story and let me help you find what you are looking for in your home. Free professional interior design advice. What have you got to lose?

Rule Britannia

I have a fun little decor mood board for your Friday.

It’s rather topical, as well. This weekend will be the start of a major party in the UK to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. There are all sorts of national events planned as well of lots of local parties in communities all over the UK. You can read all about the events, learn more fun facts about the monarchy and even leave a message to Queen Elizabeth on this website.

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Elizabeth II, a working mother of four, first took the throne 60 years ago at the young age of 25. She is now the second longest reigning monarch in her county’s history. The longest reign is held by Queen Victoria, at 63 years 7 months.  This is Queen Victoria at her Diamond Jubilee in 1897:

Working mom at rest, Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Victoria ruled the British Empire, while also giving birth to and raising 9 children, all of whom married other members of aristocracy across Europe. Leave it to the ladies to do a thorough job, I say.

Since there will be some great holidays in the UK over the next week, I thought I’d throw together a little decor love for all of the Anglophiles out there, like me.

Where can I buy these things? Just click the links in the descriptions below:

1. What is a “Diamond” Jubilee without some diamonds? Rectangular frame and Round frame, from ZGallerie

2. Raise the roof with Union Jack paper lantern garlands, from

3. Cuddle a corgi with no house training required, from Amazon

4. Celebrate the city with this London tea towel, from Amazon

5. Bring on the cakes with this set of London cake tins , from Amazon UK

6. Wall art with words to live by, from

7. Scalloped-edged Diamond Jubilee postage stamp area rug, available in several style, sizes and colors, from

8. Raise a toast to “The Queen” with Beefeater Gin, available at all good liquor stores

9. Take in the view of modern London with this Cityscape vinyl wall decal, from Cost Plus World Market

10. Relax like royalty with these decorative pillows:  Victoria Crown pillow, from Bloomingdale’s; London Town pillow, from Etsy; London Underground Station pillow, from Etsy

11. Serve up a nice cuppa with this Diamond Jubilee teapot, from Harrods

Whether you are admiring the celebrations from afar or live in one of the 16 countries across the world that call Elizabeth II “Your Majesty”, join in on the party!

Marvel-ous mood board for kids

Today’s post is brought to you by all the cool Wonder Woman tools I think every woman still wants today. Where is my lasso-of-truth to use on department store cosmetic personnel? Where are my bullet deflecting bracelets to fight off telemarketers? If I wanted to, I could now fill an entire house with clear acrylic furniture. How is there still no invisible plane that allows me to skip the TSA line?

I wouldn’t want Wonder Woman’s dry cleaning bill, though. You just know hers is still more expensive than all those guys in tights. Image courtesy of

In all seriousness, though…well, not too much seriousness…

With the ongoing success of The Avengers movie, I thought it might be fun to throw together a free mood board on Pinterest with a super hero theme. I’ve made this mood board with kids in mind, as a sort of ideal super hero hangout. However, I’m would not be surprised if adults found some fun decor inspiration in here, too. (When you see it, know that I just discovered the “Lay-n-Play construction set carrier” today and can’t wait to recommend it to future clients!)

Bat signal. You know you want it. Image courtesy of Amazon

I chose a cool grey as this room’s wall color because I want a clean backdrop for all the riotous comic colors to stand out and be noticed in the room. I was thinking of it as a basic pencil shading color, but moms and dads might like that it would be an easy color to adapt if the room decor needs to change away from this little fortress of solitude. That said, I have committed an entire accent wall to a comic book cover mural. It was just to fun of a wall covering to ignore and I figured, like most comic book villains, I should go big or go home.

Warning: Using this wallpaper mural on every wall in a room may induce serious mad scientist tendencies. Image courtesy of Amazon

Many of the furniture pieces in this mood board sport flashy colors. (Or should that be Flash-y colors?) I chose a lot of pieces from Ikea for this board, because Ikea is really offering some fabulous colors in their designs right now. I also feel that no one ever begrudges the price points at Ikea. The clean simple lines in most of their furniture works really well in kids’ rooms because they are neutral enough to grow up with any child while still being practical.

Its kind of an old Superman blue. Not quite as bright as a Captain America blue, but definitely brighter than an X-men blue. Image courtesy of Ikea

Unlike past free mood boards on my Pinterest account, I’m gonna leave this one up indefinitely. I know parents can use all the help they can get when keeping kids room manageable and affordable, so I hope this offers some realistic resources for anyone looking for some inspiration. (Please note: I take no responsibility for adult comic fans attempting to recreate this entire room for themselves without the knowledge of their spouse. You know who you are. Please use your super fan status for good, not evil.)

This bunk bed, although super-cool looking, is not designed for adults. Image courtesy of Ikea.

All of the images shown in this post are pulled from my fun new mood board on Pinterest. Want to jump to the mood board faster than a speeding bullet? Just click right here. You can also always reach my Pinterest boards by clicking on the Pinterest logo on the sidebar of this website.

Question time! If you could choose a super hero power, what power would you choose? Mr. CARO and I go back and forth on our choices, but somehow we always end up in a debate about distorting the space-time continuum. Bazinga! (Fluent geek spoken here.) Share your superpower in a comment! Love this mood board? Share it on your Facebook page to help me recruit more followers!

Downton Abbey DIY Decor

Ah, Downton Abbey. Are you already hearing the theme song your head? I find it can get stuck in my mind like an endless loop after I see PBS commercials go by.

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Have you been watching? Do you have a favorite character or story line? I find the show so beautifully designed that I hardly know where to look when I should be watching the characters. Although, nothing gets my attention more that Maggie Smith’s entrance in a scene. I believe she has the best one-liners I have heard in a long time. And I love that her character seems to know it.

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Downton Abbey is in reruns on PBS here in Maryland. Mr. CARO and I have been catching the last season’s episodes again on Friday nights. We tend to have our TVs on as we go from room to room doing our end-of-the-week Friday evening household chores. Because so much of the drama involves the servants, you can almost trick yourself into believe you are part of them if you find yourself dusting or vacuuming while they are also doing housework.

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We are big fans of this show, as is practically every other person I know. There has been so much written (and photographed) about the costumes and casting (and setting) for this show that I almost dismissed the concept of this post because I thought it might be overdone.

However, as we were talking on Sunday night, I made a joke with my husband about  the imminent arrival a new line of (fictional, yet) extremely large furniture at Macy’s called “The Grantham Collection”. Since PBS was able to successfully sell reproductions of Lady Mary’s jewelry for a while, it seems like the obvious next step.

So, I decided to build a DIY Downton Abbey room on Pinterest, just for a lark.

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I built the room from my own instinct and memory of the show’s design, without looking at production stills or watching the reruns while I worked. When I was done, I asked Mr. CARO to review my selection and give me his opinion of how I did. From the other room, I could hear him laughing and saying, “Yes!” as he scrolled through my choices.

The room I decided to recreate (à la Downton Abbey) was the library. I think a library is one of the truly defining things about an English country house. It reflects the personal style of the current resident, but also tends to much some of the family history in the home. It is a primarily masculine room, historically. (Girls do get up to all sorts of thing when they are taught to read!) However, I wanted to make sure I included that warm feeling that sometimes brought the ladies of the household into the room.

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I scoured the internet for all of my sources for this mood board. Some of them may seem to come from very random places, but that was the exact place I found the image of the item I was needing for the library. I like putting the mood board on Pinterest because it automatically gives credit and a link back to its original source. In most cases, you can also use the links to find out who makes and how to buy the chosen item. (If you happen to buy yourself one of those gorgeous decanters, I’d be happy to help you christen it!)

I’ve included notes on all of my room choices, to explain why you would want or need each item in our little dream room. Now all you have to do is supply yourself with a very old large room, with large windows and a serious fireplace. Simple, right? Here’s a little sneak peek of my Downton Abbey library:

Want to jump directly to the mood board? Just click on the picture above or use the Pinterest link on the page’s sidebar to see all of my boards.

Now I want to hear from you about Downton Abbey. How did I do on this mood board? Was I close? Can you think of anything I missed? Do you have a favorite room that we’ve seen on the show? What about the “smaller” homes we see, like cousin Isobel’s house or the Dowager House Maggie Smith’s Violet lives in? Share with me like you’re reporting on a social scandal from London!

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If you like this Downton Abbey post, you might also enjoy related posts from the blog’s archives, including these:

See you tomorrow!

New Pinterest Mood Board: Reader Request

It is the beginning of a new month, which means it is time for a new FREE monthly mood board on Pinterest. I’ve created a whole room design and linked every item to it’s retail source to make shopping easy for you. It’s a full room design by a professional interior designer for FREE. What’s the catch? It’s only on Pinterest for one month. When November is over, the whole thing is gone and a brand new board goes up online.

Based on my blog stats, these Pinterest mood boards are quite popular with all of you readers. This made it all the more enjoyable when when a reader named Marlene wrote in last month with an idea for this month’s free mood board. Marlene said:

I have a narrow foyer and an adjoining hallway in my condo that needs a little color. Could you make a mood board for that? My style is very modern. I like streamline, clean things.”

I sure can! This is exactly the type of project I like to develop for the free monthly mood boards. Thanks so much, Marlene. Your inspiration mood board is here! I hope the rest of you enjoy it, too.

This foyer/hallway combo starts with a warm gold wallpaper that unifies the foyer and hallway into one larger room. Lighting for smaller or narrow spaces is very important, so I’ve included ceiling fixtures and an inviting table lamp to vary the sources and levels of lighting according to Marlene’s needs.

Using the walls as a base texture, I’ve layered in additional textures in linear patterns to keep the clean, modern lines that Marlene likes. By using multiple metals finishes, I’ve also given Marlene some slight touches of glamour around the room. With warm tones and repeating patterns, these smaller rooms have bigger personalities, perfect for welcoming guest into a home.

So, how can you see this whole new mood board? Well, you can click on the Pinterest button below or on the sidebar, which looks just like this:

While you are on the CARO Interiors Pinterest site, you can browse around and look at some of the other boards I’ve created showing beautiful things for the home. Or you can jump directly to the “Modern, clean foyer and hallway” by clicking right here.

Want to see more mood boards?  You can check out the archive of my past client mood boards I’ve shared right here. Do you have an idea for a future Pinterest FREE monthly mood board? Just like Marlene, you can leave comment and I might use your idea for inspiration next month!

Pinterest: Go for Baroque Powder Room

It is the beginning of a new month, which means it is time for a new FREE monthly mood board on Pinterest. I’ve created a whole room design and linked every item to it’s retail source to make shopping easy for you. It’s a full room design by a professional interior designer for FREE. What’s the catch? It’s only on Pinterest for one month. On November 1, the whole thing is gone and a brand new board goes up online.

This month’s mood board is for a powder room. I’m calling it the “Go for Baroque Powder Room” because I’ve chosen iconic silhouettes from one of the most bold art movements in history. The first thing I like to do in a small room is add a little sparkle, which always makes a room feel luxurious. You can see the sparkle elements I’ve chosen in the lighting and accessories.

 Little rooms, like powder rooms, can feel larger when you use bold and big pattern. This can be a great opportunity to break out you favorite bold color and explore a busier wallpaper than you would consider for the rest of the rooms in your home.

While big patterns and bold color can add a lot to any small space, you also want choose only one or two colors so that the room does not have too many focal points. For this room, I’ve chosen a black and white palette with silver detailing and a couple or real pops of peacock blue. Using the blue on the ceiling is also a great way to give the room more height, because it naturally draws the eye up.

So, how can you see this new mood board? Well, you can click on the Pinterest button below or on the sidebar, which looks just like this:

While you are on the CARO Interiors Pinterest site, you can browse around and look at some of the other boards I’ve created showing beautiful things for the home. Or you can jump directly to the “Go for Baroque Powder Room” by clicking right here.

Could your powder room use an upgrade? Do you like Baroque patterns? Do you have an idea for a future Pinterest FREE monthly mood board? Leave comment and I might use your idea for inspiration next month!

Free monthly mood board: Fall outdoor living

As we creep toward cooler Fall weather, some places more than others, it’s time for another free mood board on Pinterest. All of the items shown on the board are linked right back to their retailers for easy shopping. The theme of this mood board was suggested by a regular reader of this blog, Trina L. in a comment on a previous free monthly mood board. Thanks for the great suggestion, Trina!

Fall is a great opportunity to use our outdoor spaces as real living spaces and I’ve chosen this mood board’s furnishings to help you look forward to shorter days and crisp autumn nights. Early Fall is also a great time to get some amazing deals on patio furniture, so if you have been looking to upgrade your outdoor spaces, now is the time to search out those bargains!

For this Fall-inspired mood board, I’ve taken a color palette cue from Mother Nature and mixed rich dark wood tones and creamy neutrals with foliage greens and oranges. Embracing the autumn colors of nature outside is a great way to use bolder color that some people might find too strong for their interior rooms.

I’ve also thrown in a few fun lifestyle  items with this mood board. I can just picture a family enjoying a hot dog roast over the fire pit, a group of friends sharing some wine and laughs in the candle-lit dusk or a couple snuggling under a blanket to star gaze as they sip some hot cocoa. Doesn’t that sound great right about now?

To check out the full free monthly mood board, click on the Pinterest icon on the sidebar or just click right here. While you’re there, be sure to check out the other Pinterest boards I’ve created of lovely and helpful things for the home. The boards are updated all the time, whenever I see something inspiring or find a where-has-this-tool-been-all-my-life-?! gadget.

Do you have a great idea for a future free monthly mood board on Pinterest? Trina had a great idea! What would you like to see? Leave a comment and you could inspire a whole free mood board next month!

Oh! And just in case you missed it, there is a great free giveaway made up of a few of my favorite things open right now. You can read all about it in yesterday’s post right here. Enter today to organize your shopping and make your Fall a little easier!

Mood Board: Busy young boy’s room

This room was designed for a little boy who had out-grown his nursery. His parents wanted a bedroom that would grow with him, but they were not interested in making a room too “theme-y”, since his young tastes would inevitably change. They wanted play space for their son and a friend or two, practical toy storage and colors/patterns they could live with comfortably…

We re-started this room with a new wall color, Benjamin Moore’s “Heavenly Blue”. This is a clean blue color with just a touch of smoke in it to keep it from feeling too baby boy blue. A lot of the rest of the color palette was inspired by the large alphabet zoo print seen over the bed. These modern hues give the room some color diversity, which will help keep the room feeling original and non-theme-y.

The bed was chosen as a piece that will grow with the little boy. Both of his parents are tall, so we made sure this sturdy bed had no footboard to deal with when he is older. For bedding, we chose a busy pattern in lots of colors for a duvet cover and sheet set. By mixing and matching a duvet set, the bed can be changed easily and, eventually, will be easy for the young client to make himself.

Painted furniture was chosen for the night stand and the dresser. Both of these pieces come with deep drawers for plenty of storage. We also lined a side wall with three toy storage corrals (in the top right of the mood board) which can hold toys now and games/media/sports equipment later. Similarly, a large wicker trunk at the bottom of the bed becomes a great catch-all for toys and all of their small pieces.

This room’s window has a nice large roman shade that the parents wanted to keep, so we added a mirror over the dresser for practical purposes and to share the great natural lighting. A simple short ceiling pendant with fun stripes was installed for over-all room lighting. Two lime table lamps were added to give some task lighting options, perfect for bedtime stories.

Play is an essential part of any child’s room, so we covered most of the floor with a big area rug in a busy pattern. This rug pulls in colors from all over the room and should wear well with hard play. We also added a play table and chairs, which can later be swapped for a desk when homework becomes part of daily life. The green self-healing cork boards over the play table are great for art projects now and teen-aged mementos years from now.

Bold patterns mix well in this room and fit the lifestyle of a busy young boy. By choosing colors and furniture that can grow with their child, the client parents are now able to look forward to years of activity and fun.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

Mood Board: Colorful, casual family room

This room was designed using the DIY Design service for a family that craved some new color. Their family room had been furnished in neutral colors and lots of browns. While their kids were younger and they needed fabrics to take a real beating, the browns (brown leather, dark wood tables, brown patterned rug) worked well. Now that their kids are older, they need a more colorful space that works for family relaxing and more entertaining. They also wanted plenty of seating for their movies nights, a place for board games and better lighting…

What you can’t see in this mood board is that this family room already has plenty of storage. Floor to ceiling built-in wood bookcases line an entire wall of the family room. The entire wall of bookcases and all of the room’s trim got a crisp new look in white paint (Benjamin Moore’s “Decorators White”). Then, we re-organized the bookcases to show off some family mementos, books, games, photos and other decor using the Finishing Touches consultation (you can read all about it right here).

The room’s large stone fireplace features a nice chunky wood mantle and a large alcove that houses the tv and all of its electronic friends. We used the wood mantle as a guide to choose the new wall color for the room. The walls were warmed up from off-white to a light coffee color (Benjamin Moore’s “Bar Harbor Beige”). This also helped a lot with lighting, which up until now had only been a large spread of recessed can lights.

We toned down the lighting of the room by exchanging all of the canned light bulbs for lower wattage bulbs and we put the entire system on a dimmer. This immediately made the room much more movie-night friendly. Next, we added a large bronze pendant lamp over the seating area, also on a dimmer. This fixture keeps the lighting feeling casual but gives some direct task light for board games, take-out dinners, and other group activities.

A big,comfy sofa was called for, so this large sectional was chosen in a high pile micro fiber upholstery. This navy fabric looks a little more luxurious, almost like a velvet, but can still handle the occasional stain easily. Two sea glass colored club chairs flank the sectional sofa and create a conversation circle perfect for entertaining. The throw pillows with lots of patterns will be used anywhere they are needed: on the sofa, on the chairs or even on the floor for extra seating.

A large area rug with a big, casual pattern brings cheerful color to the floor and anchors the seating area. The large granite-topped coffee table has a surface area large enough for the family’s needs, but still feels light in the room because of its slender frame. The rope accent table is actually sold as an ottoman, but looks great as a simple side table between the two club chairs.

To enjoy the family’s pictures more, we mixed bronze and colored frames to create a large gallery wall. (You can see how I teach clients to install a gallery wall with ease right here.) At the base of this gallery wall, we placed a long console table in the same wood tone as the fireplace mantle. A new lamp and some added decor display space help give the room depth beyond the seating area.

The final step in this room was to add some curtains to soften up all of the rectilinear wall profiles. These circular patterned curtains in a color echoed throughout the room were hung loosely at each side of the windows. The drape of the fabric is casual and the color gives some personality to the neutral walls.

Comfortable colors and fabrics complementing treasured family activities rejuvenate this room for its growing family. By mixing colorful patterns in different scales, the room stays casual and lively for all sorts of future entertainment.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

L-IKEA 2012

If you’re a fan like me, then the sight of what I’m about to show you may warm the little cockles of your heart. And you may even find a new piece of furniture named “KOKL” inside this…

The 2012 Ikea catalog is out! Does this suddenly make you crave Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam? If you live near an Ikea, you might want to swing by and check out the lovely new merchandise. If you are new to Ikea, here’s where you can find the nearest Ikea to you…just click the map below to get to their store locator.

Has anyone been to the new Centennial, Colorado Ikea? Rumor has it that it is TWICE the size of a regular Ikea in floor space. I’ve heard that from several Ikea employees here in Maryland and even those employees can’t picture how big that would be. Anyone have some CO shopping stories to dish with the rest of us?

I am very lucky to live near 3 Ikea stores, spread between 20 minute, 45 minute and 70 minute drives. My friend Nancy and I (Hi Nancy!) took her two little boys for a little shopping reconnaissance at the College Park, Maryland location earlier this week. Oh, it was fun to explore!

To share the Ikea shopping joy, I’ve made a couple of mood boards full of inspiration. All of the items on these mood boards come from Ikea. You can edit and configure them to fit your room however they would work best for you. Below each board, I’ve linked all of the items to their online catalog pages for easy browsing.

Dining room furnishing links:

Bedroom furnishing links:

Want to get more Ikea inspiration? You can pick up the new catalog in stores now or order one to be mailed directly to you by clicking right here!

Are you an Ikea fan? What store location do you shop at? What is your best Ikea purchase and where do you use it? Share the fun and leave a comment!

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