Category Archives: Decorating


December 10, 2017

Decorating / Holiday

Christmas tree in basket with unique ornaments on Thou Swell @thouswellblog(via Terrain)

Decorating the tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I always help choose the color scheme for the tree, which is my family’s way of setting an intention and mood for our Christmas. We’ve done a clementine orange and new-bud green for a poppy, modern celebration, shades of jeweled blue for a calm, reflective holiday, and deep crimson and fir for a more old-fashioned Yuletide, always choosing where we’re going to focus our time together. We always choose a good evening to come together amidst the twinkling lights and Christmas songs that haven’t gotten old yet to carefully hang ornaments on the tree. There are the nostalgic ones, the homely gifted ones (you have some too, I bet) and the elegant shapes we’ve always had on the tree, and every year the familiar elements blend into a unique combination that signals the start of the season to me and my family.

My philosophy for tree decorating is to save on your filler ornaments – the simpler shapes that set the color palette for the tree, then splurge on a few unique ornaments each year for the pieces that will hang year-to-year and create the most lasting memories. Target is a great place to find the filler ornaments, since they sell large sets (here are silver and gold sets) that you can purchase all at once. But you’ll need a few more meaningful, unique pieces to add personality to your tree. These unique ornaments will become increasingly special as you pull them from your ornament box each year! Shop my favorites below.


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December 7, 2017

Decorating / Holiday

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hive Home. The opinions and text are all mine.

Hive smart devices for holiday decorating on Thou Swell @thouswellblog

The holidays are already known to be a hectic time of year, so any chance to shave off time or not worry about the little things like remember to turn off the Christmas tree lights off is always helpful. So naturally, I turned to Hive smart products this year to set-up holiday decor with their family of devices to make things just a little easier on ourselves, from entertaining to enjoying family time in the living room. From scheduling the Christmas tree lights to incorporating a motion sensor in the entry and using their color-changing Active Light above the bar for extra holiday cheer, I’ve broken down all our ‘smart’ decor below!

P.S. Save 10% off your Hive pack with code KEVINHOLIDAY10!
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December 1, 2017

Decorating / Entertaining / Holiday

Holiday sideboard dining room buffet for holiday entertaining on Thou Swell @thouswellblog

I’m excited to share a fun holiday vignette I put together with AllModern – the perfect entertaining hub with some festive spirit fit for the season! I found this fabulous old-school cabinet from their holiday furniture shop, with a mid-century silhouette and even space for a turntable with a hinged panel on top! I made it the entertainer’s best friend by filling it with equal parts dinnerware and bar supplies and used the turntable space for easy access to glasses. On top, I featured some stylish and seasonally-appropriate accessories from their decor holiday shop, including funky DwellStudio candleholders, a white deer figurine, and gold flatware in easy reach. The blues and whites look stunning in front of our new dining room wall color and I’ve already put our new pieces to use with Thanksgiving entertaining at my dad’s house.

AllModern still has Cyber Week savings on their site so don’t forget to check out their great selection of modern furniture and decor. Continue reading below to see how I stocked up this great new piece with everything my dad needs for entertaining guests, right within reach in the dining room.


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November 30, 2017

Decorating / Tye Street Project

Custom white Belgian linen curtains in blue high-gloss dining room on Thou Swell @thouswellblog

Thanksgiving break was a great recess from school and a wonderful escape to the warmer South, but it was definitely non-stop madness with (my favorite kind of) work – designing and photographing new projects for the blog! I am so excited to share a sneak peek of the Tye Street dining room‘s fabulous new wall color (and high-gloss sheen) and the custom white Belgian linen curtains I ordered from Alva to frame the window in the room. These two details (and the corner of the new/old rug and chairs in the photo above) give you a sense of the new dynamic red and blue color scheme. And not only do you get a peek at the final design, but Alva is generously hosting a $250 giveaway towards custom window treatments of your choice to give a bespoke upgrade to a room in your house… Seriously, window treatments transform a space!

Like in the master bedroom, I used the trick of ordering curtain panels much wider than the window to give the illusion of a larger window and also show off more of the beautiful linen and the great contrast between dark blue and white in the room. It’s a large room, so expanding the weight of the single window helps balance the entire space. While linen is often used for sheer curtains, these custom panels are lined so they provide privacy or light-blocking if needed. I chose inverted pleats for the top for a tailored look that would complement the more contemporary pieces in the new room design. See more details and enter the giveaway below!
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November 16, 2017


Grey accent chair and palm with floor lamp and brass lampshade on Thou Swell(via Thou Swell – Convertible Guest Room Design Reveal)

When I shared this London flat by Ben Pentreath last year, I made a note to look around for patterned lampshades in the market, because it’s a detail that brings so much personality to Pentreath’s work, and he uses them in a really fresh, fun way. They’re a pretty distinctively traditional English touch, especially with a floral, pleated fabric, but the way in which designers like Pentreath and Australian interior and textile designer Anna Spiro use the lampshades can bring a really special touch to the room that can wield a large impact.

The next generation of designers, like Luke Edward Hall (who worked for Pentreath before branching off on his own), are bringing their own twist to patterned lampshades with less traditional patterns, but just as much impact as the more classic styles. Metal lampshades, which I struggled to find just two years ago, are now quite popular, like the one I used above in this guest room. I’ve rounded up some fabulous rooms featuring both colorful and patterned lampshades… just imagine these rooms with plain white shades and you’ll get a sense of the power of this great detail!


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