Tricks for Setting on On-Trend and Budget-Friendly Holiday Table

21 November 2017
  Hey Capital Region! The November Issue of Mini City Saratoga is out now and it includes lots of good reads for this Thanksgiving week, including my budget-friendly ideas for decorating an on-trend holiday table. Check it out here!

My secret weapon for the perfect table setting? Wrapping paper! 

You will need:
-Two rolls of wrapping paper. 
One will be used for the formal table and one will be for the kids’ table. 
Target and Homegoods are always my first stop for stylish patterns!
-A roll of brown craft paper
-12 three-dimensional gift tags. 
These will be used as your “napkin rings”.  
I recommend checking the dollar section at Target!
-Fresh seasonal florals
-Garland and vase-fillers

Since design and color trends change from year to year, using wrapping paper as a table runner is a great way to add pops of colors and pattern to your tablescape.
I use this trick when I’m setting a festive table setting whether it’s a holiday, birthday, shower and in this case, Christmas Eve dinner. It’s a way to embrace a trend without committing to spending more than $5 for a roll. Plus, there’s no stressing when that glass of red wine spills on the disposable wrapping paper!

Start by selecting a color palette and design inspiration for the look of your holiday table. 
Think about how you’ve decorated for past dinner parties and make a list of the essentials that you already have, like linens and place settings.

For my table, my look was inspired by Kate Spade Holiday: think bold colors and graphic patterns mixed with an elegant, classic aesthetic. I began by pairing a red and gold wrapping paper with a simple white cloth tablecloth. Next, I assembled a centerpiece using fresh florals with loose miniature silver Christmas tree ornaments and red grosgrain ribbon sprinkled below. I wanted the red runner and seasonal floral centerpiece to act as the major “moments” in my table design, so simple white china and white linen napkins were a clean backdrop. Red ribbon with tiny bottle-brush pine trees finish the look.

The kids’ table is the perfect opportunity for using a playful, whimsical-motif on your wrapping paper runner. For my kids’ table, the pattern runs in one direction so I cut the paper down the center of the length of the roll to be able to turn the paper’s motif to face all the seats appropriately. Between the patterned wrapping paper, I ran brown craft paper as a runner along the center of the table and wrote the children’s names above each place setting. Tip: leave crayons on the kids table for a mealtime activity. Lastly, I wrapped each napkin with a festive gift tag and inserted a candy cane. 

These fun and thoughtful details will be special for your guests and fuss-free for you!

Thanks so much to Jenny O'K for putting together such a great magazine and for including my two-cents! Please come visit me on Instagram @leeowensdesign and follow Mini City for local resources for parents and kids.


One Room Challenge // The REVEAL!

15 November 2017
The big reveal is here! 

Our journey began seven weeks ago with a bathroom that was in need of some major love. To quote my Week 1 self, we were going for "a charming mix of traditional with modern elements and pops of contemporary design."

I came with a vision and my husband had the lucky job titles of carpenter, tiler, and contractor and together we put together a pretty lovely space that works really nicely with the rest of our home. We love it.

You can get a recap of the past 7 weeks here:
Week 1 // Week 2 // Week 3 // Week 4 // Weeks 5 & 6

I can now say our bathroom is living it's best life!

A tiny reminder of The Before ...

And without further ado, let's get to it!

At the end of a project I love comparing my inspiration illustration against the final result. While there were some changes to the artwork and color palette along the way, overall I feel like I was true to my vision!

Well, that's a wrap! Thanks to Linda of Calling It Home for putting together this Queen of All Blog Link Ups known as the One Room Challenge. It's a great way to keep motivated with a home design project while also being inspired by the incredibly talented featured and guest designers! 

See all the beautiful reveals here and find me on Instagram!
Until the next challenge...



stool (similar)

One Room Challenge // Weeks 5 & 6

08 November 2017
We are moving along here with our Bathroom to Bestroom makeover and next week is the big reveal! That means we get to see everyone's fancy shmancy professionally-photographed final spaces and it's like a whole big party among the One Room Challenger-ers. Lots of fun for all involved!

If you're interested in seeing our progress so far, you can see previous posts here:

So last week (well, technically 2 weeks ago because I skipped last week's post which is the reasoning behind this post being titled "Weeks 5 & 6"), our bathroom makeover status was:

-drywall taped, mudded, sanded and painted
-crown molding, floor base installed & painted
-marble hex floors installed
-subway tile shower surround/wall installed
-sink vanity installed
-wall mirror installed
-wall sconce installed

As you can see, plumbing fixtures had yet to be installed and decorative elements were yet to be selected. 

Great news: those outstanding items have since been checked off the list! So now I can say:
-plumbing fixtures installed, CHECK!

Outdoor curtain rod from Restoration Hardware; Towel hook from Pottery Barn
We knew early on that we wanted to do a ceiling-mounted shower curtain rod because the soffit over the shower allowed for it AND the window frame cuts into the shower slightly and a standard suspension rod would likely look funny if it was butted-up against the window frame.

I envisioned a brass window rod, but then I found this outdoor window hardware from Restoration Hardware and the weather-resistant aspect seemed like a perfect fit for a shower. Sold.

My next concerns, of course, were the artwork and rug. Honestly the wall art was the OG saga in this whole ordeal, as you might remember the existential crisis that the Bathroom to Best Room experienced during Week 3 when we ditched our original concept (see: "teeny green bikini beachside lady living her best life") because the aesthetic was beginning to feel all wrong.

Then, in keeping with my dramatically indecisive "woe is me, I can't decide on the fluffy decor" theme, I wasn't finding the right rug during Week 4. I was open to spending a bit extra on a beautiful, unique hand-knotted oriental rug but nothing I found was exactly what I was looking for unless I wanted to spend a LOT extra ... and with messy kids (wonderful humans but messy humans), I couldn't justify it.

After doing a quick online search for a rug in the exact size I was hoping for (2' x 4'), I came across a "antique-look" rug from Safavieh and I was surprised by how much I liked it despite that fact that it's not an authentic antique, it truly is charming nonetheless! It even inspired a new color scheme which leads me to the artwork!

Paint by Number artwork from Etsy

I found this Paint by Number style print on Etsy and the colors work perfectly with the rug and the subtle waterside theme. Frame is from Target and the wood finish is almost identical to the vanity. So, yay!

That's all I'm going to show you for the week because I want to make sure next week's reveal has some surprises. I just need to finish styling the space and it will be photographed this weekend!

Good luck to the rest of the participants, I cannot wait to see what you've all done with your 7 weeks! 

One Room Challenge // Week 4

25 October 2017
Welcome to Week 4 of the One Room Challenge
It's been a busy few weeks and here's a reminder of how far we've come in our Bathroom to Best Room makeover ...


This week brought an exciting installation ... the vanity! This pretty thang has been sitting in storage for weeks waiting for its big reveal.


It's great seeing some "color" in the room. Up until the addition of the wood vanity, the space was sooo white and gray and bare is not exactly my aesthetic. The vanity is the first step towards the fresh yet richly decorated bathroom I was going for. 

Bam! We've got a mirror and a sconce light now too!

At the time that I am writing this, I am heavily obsessing over a rug decision. I've been promising Brian that there will be color in this bathroom and THIS is where we will get the colorful ball rolling.

So I went shopping:

I've been back and forth to a local shop that sells beautiful hand knotted oriental rugs and I brought home these two beauties to try in the space. I LOVE the look of both of them, unfortunately the 2x3 size feels too dinky in the space so I'm still on the hunt for the right rug in the right size. I've decided that the ideal size rug for our bathroom would be as close to 2' x 4.5' as I can find.

And then, behold! A spotlight fell on this lovely silk antique lady and the size was PERFECT for the space! The pattern is a bit more formal than I had envisioned, yet I quickly grew to love this rug. (during its trial run in our bathroom)...

...until I looked at the price tag.*  There was no way I could spend that much on a bathroom rug when we have young kids doing tubby time and potty training and being generally messy with toothpaste, etc. It's beautiful, but totally unrealistic for our lifestyle.

Problem is, this is not a standard size -- not quite considered a "runner" but the dimensions don't fit within the parameters of a typical accent rug. Luckily, antique oriental and Persian rugs tend to come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so I'll just need to keep and eye out and hunt on.

*Pro Tip: check the price tag PRIOR to bringing a piece into your space and falling in love with it!


Follow me on Instagram for sneak peeks and follow the 20 featured ORC designers and the other guest participants

One Room Challenge // Week 3

18 October 2017
It's Thursday again so you know what that means -- time for One Room Challenge updates!

We are barreling into this week with LOTS of big updates to share. However, with these updates come some major changes to the design plan. Honestly, the only way I can think of to explain it is that my initial design for "Bathroom to Best Room" is having a major existential crisis. 

One Room Challenge // Week 2

11 October 2017
It's Week 2 of the One Room Challenge and I definitely have a lot of updates to share!

First I'd like to announce the unofficial ORC hashtag for my bathroom update, since the #worldsokayestpowderroom was already taken.

Inspired by the beachside lady in her teeny-green-bikini who is living her best life, I'm ready for this bathroom to be living its best life.

it is.

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