Category Archives: Mood Boards

Free monthly mood board: Dorm room to-go

The calendar has rolled over to a new month and it is time for me to offer another free mood board on Pinterest. This mood board comes with its pictures linked to all of the sources used in the design. It’s like getting a whole room professionally designed…for free!

Last month’s mood board was a beach nursery and this month’s mood board takes us to the other end of childhood. We are creeping up on back-to-school season, so I though I’d turn my hand to a girl’s dorm room. (I asked Mr. CARO if I should do a boy’s dorm room, but he assured me that teenage boys going off to college really do not care if their living spaces look pulled together.)

I have offered a few tried-and-true solutions to fight some common dorm issues, such as XL twin bed sizes and no-holes-in-the-walls policies. I also chose a lot of color for this dorm room, to keep it looking personal. The patterns I chose all embrace some use of white, which almost makes the institutional white walls look like a choice.

I have also included some practical must-haves for day-to-day living on campus, such as more book storage, closet organization, late night snack storage and the dreaded laundry. I’ve tried to choose products for this part of dorm life that are either inexpensive and/or could be used beyond college in a first apartment.

Even if you are not going off to college this Fall, you’ll find some pretty and helpful items on this mood board. There are also other mood boards with household favorites of mine to browse while you are visiting the Pinterest site. Just remember, this month’s free mood board with all of its links for easy shopping will be gone on September 1st!

Want to see the whole “Girl’s Dorm Room To Go” mood board now? You can check it out by clicking the Pinterest logo on the sidebar or the one right here:

Do you have an idea for a Pinterest Mood Board you’d like me to make? Leave it in a comment…you may inspire next month’s design!

Mood Board: Stylish studio living room

This room was designed for client who had just finished her post-graduate degree and was starting a new job. She chose to keep her living arrangements small in a nice new studio apartment. This allowed her to prioritize her student loans and travel extensively for her new career. The client wanted a cozy studio living room with some office space and furniture that she could live with for years…

The room color represented above was predetermined for this project by the apartment building owners, who prefer that their tenants do not re-paint. Fortunately, this light creamy color works very well with light in the room, so we happily set to work giving this living room some personality.

The client really loves earth tones, but we wanted to keep the room looking somewhat eclectic so she add personal items and new decor finds easily. First, we chose long, rich chocolate drapery panels to flank the tall windows. We echoed the chocolate tone in the area rug, but also made sure we chose a patterned rug to clearly define our living room seating area visually from the rest of the studio.

The love seat and club chair have clean modern lines in a neutral gray fabric which could work in any combination of spaces. This neutrality allowed us to accessorize the seating with a variety of pillows and a cosy throw in the client’s favorite color. The small coffee table is just the right scale for the seating area we created.

The open bookshelf was used twice in the room. First, behind the small sofa as a sofa table with baskets for storage, books and decor. (The client works in the education industry, so the moss-covered apple was a must for good luck in her new job.) The second bookshelf was used as media shelf for her tv/dvr and books across from the sofa. These classic shelves can easily be repurposed if the client ever moves.

We chose this double function dresser/desk to give the client more storage and an office space the can be easily closed away when she is entertaining. The desk chair can also join the conversation circle as additional seating. A new painting of a beautiful landscape above the dresser adds a pop of color to the creamy walls.

The area and task lighting was needed for this room to function as both living room and office. We kept the lamps feeling light in the room by choosing two see-through glass lamps for the sofa table and two slim floor lamps near the club chair and desk. This smaller visual lamp profile helps keep the small room feeling spacious.

Warm earth tones and soft, cool blues combine to define a cozy room within a new studio apartment. By organizing furniture choices to serve the client’s multiple needs, this living room is now ready for new work and entertaining.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

Pinterest: Beach Nursery

It’s the beginning of a new month, which means it’s time for another free mood board with all the sources on Pinterest. You can read more about my monthly free mood board on this page.

This month’s mood board is a nursery inspired by the gentle colors of a beach: warm sand, soft green grasses, white clouds, light blue skies, deep blue waters and some natural wood tones. These colors make for a calm and serene room, which can be very soothing to sleepy parents giving late night feedings.

While creating this happy room, I’ve tried to keep the furniture costs affordable. There are several big retailers that will argue with me, but I don’t think a baby’s nursery decor should require the raiding of their young college fund. The key to great nursery design is finding beautiful, savvy solutions that will grow with both the child and the parents’ taste. As adults, we will enjoy a beautiful nursery far more than an infant will ever remember it.

I hope this board helps inspire those of you needing a new room like this in your home. Just remember, like all the previous mood boards on Pinterest, this board will be gone in 30 days! There are some great July sales in stores this month, so you might want to check the sources now and take a few notes.

Want to see the whole Beach Nursery board now? Just click on the Pinterest link in the sidebar of the website. It looks just like this:

Then click on the first board, which looks like this:

Happy browsing!

I’ll be back with another new post this afternoon, just in time for the holiday weekend. See you then!

Mood Board: Fight-the-white kitchen

This room was designed using the DIY Design Service for a client facing a common color problem. She was moving into a great rental apartment with a newly remodeled, all white kitchen, which she could not, under any circumstances, paint. What could she do? The kitchen had a very nice galley plan, but was a little short on some storage space.  She also really wanted an inviting space to eat breakfast in and that she could cook in with a friend or two…

The client really likes to cook. She often has a friend or two over to try new recipes with her. Based on how the room would be used, the rug for the white tile kitchen floor needed to be willing to take a lot of wear and be easy to clean. We chose this indoor/outdoor rug full of deep saturated colors the client loves to really ground the floor.

Next, we used a classic renter’s trick for kitchen cabinets. We carefully removed and stored the owner’s kitchen cabinet hardware. These pieces will have to go back up when the client moves out. Then we added some beautiful antique-looking glass knobs wherever hardware was needed. These little aqua gems really function like jewelry in the room by being the sparkle you notice when you walk in the room. The client can also take them with her when she moves and use them again later.

Lighting was not a problem in this room, thanks to new track lighting and some well placed under-cabinet lights for the counter. The large window offered an opportunity for off-setting the white walls. Using a large print pattern, the curtain panels were hung from floor to ceiling to allow for a full drape of bold color.

More storage was needed to accommodate the client’s collection of cookbooks and a few larger appliances that took up too much room on the counter top. The book shelf we squeezed in echoes the warm brown tone of the rug and the antique feel of her new cabinet hardware. Most importantly, this bookcase can also be moved and used in any room the client may live in later.

Seating was next on the list of needs for this room. The kitchen had room for a small bistro set. Instead we chose this bold orange bench that seats two facing into the kitchen without having to move it around like you would chairs. The crisp teal pedestal table is handy for breakfast in the morning and can be moved and used for food prep tasks when there are extra cooks around.

The striped kitchen towels were hung on a towel bar directly over the sink, which helped add more color the walls between the countertop and the white cabinets. The large yellow bee canister, now re-purposed as a cookie jar, adds a pop of color and texture to the sleek white counters. The large wood bowl echoes the warm wood of the bookcase and becomes a home for natural fruit in all their beautiful colors.

The large Mucha print was an easy choice because the client loves the artist We framed it in a bold teal blue to be a great pick-me-up to enjoy with her breakfasts. Many of the lively colors in the print are already in her kitchen. This print will give the client some inspiration and direction for future colorful finds to add to her kitchen.

Bold colors combine in this kitchen to make its the white surfaces feel like a clean accent. Using older patterns and furnishing profiles allow this room to feel well-loved and welcoming to future guests.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

Mood Board: Seascape sun room

This room was designed for a client with a brand new sun room addition on the back of her house. She had planned for this sun room for many years and had a “mountain” (her words, not mine) of inspiration ideas and clippings to share with me. She wanted an extra living space, without a television, that would give her room to enjoy her garden and her air conditioning simultaneously. She liked the breezy feel of a cabana, but also really loved the soft tones of beach landscapes during a beautiful sunset…

The first thing we chose for this project was the flooring, because it was part of the room’s final construction. We chose a dark stain on a polished extra-hard bamboo floor. The bamboo part of the floor kept it very affordable and sustainable. The dark tones mimic the rich, cool floors of a classic colonial Caribbean plantation, perfect for enjoying barefoot.

The next challenge to tackle was the room color. With three sides of the room dominated by almost floor-to-ceiling windows, we needed to soften the bright white wall framing. We also had to unify the three new walls with the older wall, which had formerly been an exterior wall of the house. This soft peach wall color, Benjamin Moore’s “Candle Light”, is very soothing and captures some of the sunset lighting feel that the client loves.

We also painted the ceiling of this sun room. There is an old Southern tradition of painting porches ceilings in a light blue. Many rumors abound about its uses (keeps the bees away, keeps you feeling cooler), but I thought it would work here to make our sun room ceiling feel more a part of the outside garden. I used a favorite light, clean blue of mine, Benjamin Moore’s “Sweet Bluette”.

Energy efficiency can take some careful planning in a room so full of windows. The large palm-paddled helps move the air through the room evenly, regardless of it being heated or cooled for the current season. The sand colored area rug, made of jute in a diamond pattern, is soft on the feet in summer and warm on the feet in winter. It defines the seating area of the dark expanse of flooring.

The curtains chosen for this room also contribute to the room’s energy use. These large textured panels still allow natural light to enter the room when they are closed, which is very useful in the winter months. The billowy quality of the curtains is reminiscent of those found on island resorts. They also give some privacy to the client and her husband when they want to enjoy a relaxing morning in their pjs without having to wave to the neighbors.

Sea grass furniture is popular again, although my client and I don’t understand how it can ever be unfashionable. We chose two sea grass sofas and two sea grass wing chairs and kept all the upholstery in a clean, classic white. For more personality in our seating area, a variety of complementary throw pillows in different textures and patterns were mixed in for comfort.

The client had been saving an antique rattan accent table for this room’s completion for many years. Her lovely flea-market find was placed between the two wing chairs. The large glass and iron coffee table fills the practical need of table space while still keeping a light footprint in the seating area. It’s bamboo segmented gold legs are also echoed in the floor lamps, which give the room a cosy glow in the evenings.

The finishing touches for this room include two small potted palm trees. Placed in the two window wall corners of the room, the trees bring the view of the garden inside. Two vases on the coffee table, in stoneware and capiz shell, allow the client to bring some of her flowers into the house to enjoy. The fourth wall gets a classic seaside watercolor by James McNeill Whistler in a mottled gold frame to balance out the sliding glass doors leading into the room.

The natural textures of sea grass, palm, rattan, bamboo and capiz shell combine to keep this room feeling a part of the outside world. By embracing the warmth of a coastal sunset, this room’s color palette gives the client the relaxing and peaceful space she has dreamed of for years.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

Mood Board: Perfectly pink home office

This project was designed using our DIY Design service. I’m currently in the process of developing an online version of this service, which you can read more about right here. I would really like to hear from you, too. Am I missing something you would want included? Please leave a comment!

Now, on to today’s mood board…

This DIY Design room was designed for a client looking to upgrade her small home office. As a freelance journalist, she spends a lot of time writing at home. Her home office had functioned as make-do office/guest room for several years. Its contents included an well-loved futon, a functional bookcase, a tall file cabinet and a card table, acting as a desk.

The client wanted a light and airy space. Her favorite color is pink, but she didn’t want a room with pink walls.  She wanted a homey  space where she could work, but that she would also feel comfortable inviting colleagues into as needed. She wanted a softer place to read, besides a stylish desk chair. She mentioned that she also loves flowers, but has severe allergies, so “no plants, please”…

The first thing to do in this room was rearrange the existing furniture. The futon and card table were donated to her younger brother. The tall file cabinet and the bookcase were tucked away in the empty closet. This allows the client to keep professional books and office supplies stacked however she wants them and they can all be tidied away just by closing the closet door.

Knowing that we would want to include lots of pink in the room, this silvery grey wall color (Benjamin Moore Color Preview in “Silver Half Dollar”) provides a neutral background for warmer colors and any patterns. We also added some simple crown molding to the design to give a nice finished look to the walls. A crisp white paint (Benjamin Moore Color Preview in “Chantilly Lace”) was chosen to update the trim, crown molding and doors.

Painting the walls grey brought much attention to the white Berber carpet already in the room. We kept the carpet, especially since it had nice cushy padding, but we minimized the bright white color by centering a darker grey area rug on top. The gentle circular pattern on the rug helps soften all of the right angles in the room.

To keep the room feeling airy, lightly textured sheers were chosen for the window. This will cut down on any glare when the client is working on her computer and offer a breezy feeling if she wants to open the window. We echoed the soft waves of the sheer in the new ceiling fixture. With multiple glass panels hanging around the shade, this fixture will offer some softly diffused light when the client works in the evening. Our last lighting choice was this large desk lamp. The crystal base lets the light pass through it, giving the lamps a lighter feel on the desk surface and adding a tiny bit of sparkle to the room.

Speaking of a light feeling, this trestle style desk was chosen to give the client plenty of storage for her printer and her scanner without taking away from the desk top surface area. The open shelves and legs of the desk also keep the desk from feeling like a heavy piece of furniture in the room. The desk chair needed to feel dressier than most desk chairs. By choosing a dining chair and having it custom upholstered in a modern dark pink print, the client has a comfortable desk chair in her favorite color. This desk chair can also be used as a stylish side chair with the settee.

This small settee is ideal for the room size. We also liked the elegant legs, which repeat the wood finishes found in the desk and desk chair. The tufting on the back of this settee make for a lovely texture against the smooth grey walls. Two contrasting pink pillows also add some velvet texture and extra comfort for the client to enjoy when she’s reading.

The woven textured basket can catch all of the client’s magazines in a neat stack by the settee and also give the room some natural texture. Two green garden seats were chosen to serve as simple end tables to the settee or the client can place them together to use as a coffee table. The light green color gives some contrast to our neutrals, without steeling focus from the saturated shades of pink.

Finally, most importantly, we wanted some real pops of pink on the walls. Knowing that our client loves flowers but has real allergy issues, these beautiful photography prints give her a flowers year round with no watering required. They also bring in more texture from nature, which always helps a room feel more relaxing.

By choosing very livable neutrals, this rooms allows the client’s favorite color to really show its personality. Mixing textures and light keeps this room feeling clean and airy, a perfect place for working in comfort.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

Mood Board: Vintage Man Cave

It’s the beginning of a new month! This means there is a brand new FREE mood board with all of the sources listed on the CARO Interiors Pinterest page.

This month’s mood board is called “Vintage Man Cave”. I’ve put together a great room that can host guys for the game or a regular poker night or even just some solo time stretched out in a favorite recliner. This recliner:

This chair is so nice you might want a couple of them. You could turn napping a new sport. First one to fall asleep wins!

I’ve put some bold color in this man cave, so it doesn’t get too dark. No one actually wants to live in a cave. I’ve also included some handsome art, perfect for showing some manly style.

Where can you see the rest of this board? Just click on the right side bar where you see this:

Then click on the board that looks like this:

Just remember this FREE mood board will be gone in one month! If you plan on using this board for some inspiration, jot down the sources now, before it is too late.

Are you looking for some design ideas? FREE design service right here every month! Leave me a comment for me describing what you need and you could see it as next month’s FREE mood board.

Mood Board: Hollywood Glam Foyer

This room was designed for a client craving some Hollywood Glamour style. She had already collected two great pieces for her foyer, but was unsure how to pull this popular look together. She needed to add some extra storage, if possible, to compensate for her very small coat closet. Her biggest obstacle had been trying to pick an interesting wall color for her foyer and narrow central hallway…

The wall color was the first decision we made, because it would become the backdrop for all of the colors and finishes intrinsic to the Hollywood Glam look. By choosing neutral colors, the view of the hallway would not be jarring from any other room in the condo. The stripes allow us to give the walls a little dimension with their finishes. The dark color is painted in an eggshell, almost matte, finish. The light color is painted in a high gloss finish, to make it stand away visually from the darker color and reflect a little pearl-like light around the room.

Speaking of light, the client had already found this lively orange lamp and was looking for a great place to put it. By placing it on the glossy black console table, a natural focal wall was created across from the front door. We added the antique-looking silver mirror to give the room a little sparkle and the appearance of more visual space.

The rug was the other great find that the client already had waiting for this project. The popular chevron pattern (you can learn more about it right here) is turned on its side in this rug, making an interesting stripe. The client has given me permission to share her find with you, so here is the link to this fabulously priced rug at Ikea.

Storage was on the clients wish list, specifically to handle off-season scarves, boots, gloves, hats, etc. that didn’t fit in the narrow coat closet. The curvy upholstered bench in a vibrant mod green pattern fits the bill for storage, but also gives her a place to sit down and put on those boots in the winter.

Art was needed to give the foyer and hall some extra color and to make the room personal for the client. By choosing a few modern art prints and having them framed similarly, the client can now add to her collection as she finds great pieces and grow her gallery down the hallway.

Finally, we added two more pieces for practical purposes. The brass chandelier has clean modern lines and acts as a chic supplement to the table lamp’s light. The sleek chrome umbrella stand adds another layer of shine, while making the coat closet a little less crowded.

Modern patterns and old furniture profiles mix together to give this space that collected-over-time feel that feels so personal in any home. By mixing metal finishes, the sparkle of Hollywood Glamour is alive and well in this foyer and hallway.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

Mood Board: New dining room finds old character

This room was designed for a client fighting some serious room obstacles. This dining room, in a newly built apartment, was an empty box. It is a small room, with two arched doorways leading to the galley kitchen and the narrow entry hallway. The room has no windows. This was the client’s first dining room in her first home. She wanted an inviting space with some real charm that allows dinner guest to linger at the table. She also wanted to make sure she invested furniture pieces that would last…

First things first, we had to do battle with the serious lack of light in this room. We mounted the large floor mirror on the far wall of the dining room, opposite the view from the entry hallway. The scale of this piece tricks the eye into seeing it as a window. A large mirror is also helpful to add visual square feet to a small room. We complimented the mirror with a large chandelier on a dimmer, in the center of the room. The mirror will reflect the light around the room. The shade on this chandelier acts as a light diffuser, which will be lovely for entertaining.

Next, the wall color was chosen. We chose this smokey blue to add some luxury to the room. Under lower light, this saturated color will also add some recessed corners to the room, giving it some extra depth. Blue is a soothing color to most people, which will help the client’s guest to feel more relaxed around her table.

Choosing the right table for this room is a great example of why taking good room measurements is so important. While there were many tables that seemed to fit in the room, when you actually look at the space people need to move around a table, pull out chairs, etc., it cut down on a lot of the choices. The client has always liked round tables, so we chose this classic round oak table, with an optional leaf to be the focal point of the room.

The chairs are in a slightly different style, but the same oak finish as the table. By choosing a chair with the back cut out, the chairs feel lighter in the space, and again, give the illusion of more spaciousness. The chair seat upholstery is a simple blue and brown toile, echoing the tone of the wood and the wall color. With the use of the table leaf, the room will seat six people. The client keeps the extra two chairs as accent chairs in her guest room when they are not in use in the dining room.

A sideboard or buffet table is always a helpful thing in a dining room, but we just didn’t have the floor space for a traditional sideboard in this room. By repurposing a console designed for entryways, we found a handy place for wine bottles and hot serving dishes to live during meals. The antique glass candlesticks add some dimension to the surface of this sideboard and offer another way to decorate with light when entertaining.

While we had solved the light issues with this room, it still didn’t have much of a view. By adding two large, detailed landscapes in similar frames, this room now has views worth noticing. The gold of the frames contribute a little sparkle to the room, too. The easy-to-maintain Ficus tree is small enough to live in several places in the apartment. By using it in the dining room when entertaining, the client can bring some soothing nature into the room, which compliments the art work.

The large orange area rug takes its color cues from the oranges found in the art and as a natural complement to the blue wall color. You can also find orange stripes in the silk curtains we chose to frame the two door arches. The long curves of the draping fabric help soften the crisp lines of the doorways.

By adding color and pattern to this small dining room, it has found some charm and individuality. Choosing classic furniture pieces and using some architectural tricks has ensured this dining room will have a long and busy life.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

Mood Board: Small balcony meets nature

This outdoor room was designed for a client dealing with a common problem: the too-small balcony. The balcony in question extends off of an apartment in a high-rise apartment complex, overlooking an adjoining park. Like many apartment balconies, it seemed like an architect’s afterthought. The park offers some nice views, including a lovely fountain, but the balcony’s size had kept the client from using the space as anything beyond a view from her dining room. However, after several years of ignoring the problem, the client wanted a real space where she could enjoy her green view after work with a good magazine and a glass of wine…

The grey wall color you see as the background of this mood board is the color of the brick wall and the concrete floor of the client’s balcony. I’ve included it in the mood board because, although we did not paint the brick wall or the floor, it is important to see as a color reference.

The first step was to separate the floor from the three walls by breaking up the solid grey color with an indoor/outdoor rug. The natural texture and the warm colors woven into this narrow rug really help define the space as another living room of the apartment.

As the client had already discovered, standard patio furniture is just too deep for this narrow space. By letting go of trying to squeeze a matching set of furniture onto the balcony, we were able to search for other ideas that offered more individual character. This long garden bench has a classic furniture profile, but looks more modern in its lemon yellow color. The bench cushion and pillows were chosen to add more pops of color and tie into colors already in the space’s fourth wall: the park view.

The small table in a dark wicker finish offers a practical place to set down a drink or book. We also changed out the standard porch light for an antique-looking bronze fixture, which now gives the client a softer reading light. Both the table and the light fixture are in an older style, which helps give the balcony a slightly worn-in, cosy feeling.

Next, we added some green to the space, which helps link the space visually to the view beyond in the park. We added several balcony rail planters that the client plans to use as a mini herb garden. In the same black iron finish, we also added 2 multi-tier plant stands. Floor space is at a premium on this balcony, so the plant stands can help add color to the corners without sacrificing the traffic pattern.

For the two grey side walls of the balcony, we added two small black iron trellises. The client had always liked climbing vines, but had never considered them for her own space. We gave her two places to grow some color on those grey walls. With the balcony’s great sun exposure, she plans to train some purple clematis vines.

Finally, a little art and a little artful convenience adds some decor to this balcony. The aged outdoor thermometer allows the client to check the temperature every morning. The small bronze quail statue nestles onto the floor into a corner with one of the plant stands for a little touch of whimsy.

Thinking beyond common furniture design allowed this balcony to find its own character. By embracing the landscaped view in the design, this narrow outdoor space feels larger and more welcoming to everyday use.

Unique, affordable, comfortable living.

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