Category Archives: DESIGN ELEMENTS

Design Elements {Black & White Skulls}

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Are you looking for an edgy detail for your next design project? Black and white skull prints might be just what you’re looking for. I’ve put together a great collection of ‘skull print’ inspiration to help you on your way. Fabrics, wallpaper, throw pillows, ceramic plates, you name it. There are lots of possibilities for you to consider. Let’s start with a fantastic design example of what you can do with this fun design element. I absolutely love the design of this styling salon. Just the kind of place I would like to hang out in for hours. Which is sometimes what it takes to manage my unruly hair. The black skull wallpaper accent wall is awesome!

These black and white skull plate patterns would make a great table setting for your Halloween or Day of the Dead celebrations…

Unfortunately, this skull print upholstered chair is no longer available but I had to show it as an example of what can be done with this fun print. You can always reupholster your own chair with a similar fabric if you have to have this look.

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Skull Upholstery on Harp Chair. Discontinued item from Nest

A couple more skull patterns to take in…

A detail shot of the Grateful Head Salon. Their logo is shown on the black bag hanging on the wall. So cool!

Maybe you’d prefer a couple throw pillows for your sofa?

Here’s a closeup of a black skull wallpaper from Graham and Brown. It’s the perfect mix of subtle with edgy, don’t you think?

Maybe a white background fabric to soften the look? Or, dark and moody?

Here’s an overall view of the Grateful Head Salon. You can see the black skull wallpaper accent wall in the back. Nice, subtle detail.

Or, maybe you would prefer to wear this design element with these scarves from Alexander McQueen…

So, what do you think of the use of black and white skull prints in interior design? Would you use this edgy design element in one of your designs?

Design Elements {Recycled Tires}

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I’m really impressed with all the creative ways that companies are recycling old tires these days. I’ve been using rubber flooring made from recycled tires in my design projects for years. But, there are so many more options if you want to incorporate this unusual material into your interior design projects.

Take this stylish table and chair set for example. I really love the woven look to these and the table base is fantastic!

I really like the texture on this recycled tire basket and imagine how durable these would be:

I’ve always been a big fan of black floors. They make such a nice neutral backdrop to pop accent colors off of. This is a retail space with a rubber floor made from old car tires.

Picture Frames? …I never would have thought of this but I love the result! The texture from the different tire tread designs is so cool…

These bracelets from Urban Lace Jewelry are awesome!!! They also make a fun, lacey mask that would be perfect for a costume party.

Baa Baa Black Sheep…Who new that recycled inner tubes could be so adorable?

A larger basket design for your magazines and such. I have this one on my wish list for my husband’s bathroom reading…

How about a flower pot holder? The durability from the old tires would work perfectly for this application.

Super cool storage solution…

What do you think about these innovative solutions to solving our tire disposal problem? Do you know some other great uses to add to the list?

Design Elements {Cardboard}

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Cardboard light fixtures? Furniture made from cardboard? Sure, it’s not a material that typically comes to mind when you think of interior design. But, that’s what makes it so cool! I’ve always been fascinated with the innovative use of unexpected materials in interior spaces. And, what could me more unexpected than cardboard furniture? My first exposure to cardboard furniture was in design school when I learned about ‘The Wiggle Chair’ designed by architect, Frank Gehry. I never would have imagined that a piece of furniture made out of cardboard could be so awesome! And, Gehry isn’t the only one expressing his creativity through cardboard. Just last week, I came across a pendant light fixture from Greypants with a layered cardboard shade. Now, this is one cool light fixture. The shape of it is great and the ‘glow’ from the backlit corrugated cardboard makes it even better.

My re-discovery of cardboard designs inspired me to find out what others are doing with cardboard these days. This surround has a great look to it. Not a bad idea to set the mood for a special event.

Very well designed chair! I love how the ottoman tucks into the chair itself. The details are great and the two-toned material combination and shape are spot-on too.

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Cardboard Chair Design by Tim May via

Here’s a designer to keep your eye on. Domingos Tótora is doing some exciting things with recycled cardboard. Here’s one of his furniture designs. The base of the table is constructed from a pulp made from recycled cardboard. His website is full of great designs made from the same process.

Oh, and let’s not forget the one that started it all for me. The infamous ‘Wiggle Chair’. Just love it! I recently found out you can purchase one of your own from Hive Modern…Going on my wish list…

Here’s another fun cardboard chair design. Great for the angle lovers out there!

Another cardboard light shade design. This one from Inhabit. They have many different shapes to choose from. Definitely worth a look.

Another of Domingos Tótora‘s designs:

So, what do you think of the use of recycled cardboard for interior design objects? Are you as fascinated by it as I am? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Other posts you might like:

Color of the Day {Cardboard}

Design Elements {Black Bamboo}

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I’ve always loved the use of bamboo as a design element. It has such a great texture and it’s a renewable resource to boot. I lucked out this past fall and scored some free black bamboo poles from a couple that was cleaning up their back yard. Note to Self: Do not plant bamboo in the yard unless confining the roots! These poor folks planted a couple of bamboo plants for some decorative plantscaping and before long their back yard was a jungle. This stuff grows fast and multiplies! But, lucky for me it did because I took home a bundle of beautiful black bamboo for my next DIY project. What project you ask? Well, I haven’t really figured that out yet. But, I’m exploring the possibilities…

I really like what Elenberg Fraser did with bamboo in their Gingerboy Restaurant design. I didn’t score that much bamboo but I could maybe eek out a small feature wall with it.

These black bamboo vases are really cool. I don’t have large enough poles for this (or the woodworking skills for that matter). Good thing Fashion For Home sells them on their website. I’ll be putting these on my wish list. The plantscaping with live black bamboo plants is just beautiful. I love the contrast with the white wall behind. Nice, fresh look.

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Above: Black Bamboo Floor Vase from Fashion For Home, Black Bamboo Plantscaping

Another great way to get this look is with black bamboo flooring. The monolithic black floor it creates is very striking.

So, what are your thoughts on black bamboo as a design element? I would love to hear from you!

Design Elements {Grey & White Chevron}

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I’ve been gravitating towards soft grey and white chevron patterns lately. This classy little design element has been popping out at me everywhere I go and I love it! It has a soft look to it while still making a bold statement and it can be paired with so many different colors. Just last week, I came across this painted chevron accent wall project from DIY Showoff. Talk about wow-factor. I absolutely love this!

If you’d rather something requiring less of a commitment, maybe a chevron rug is for you. I found a nice one at Overstock.com that you might like. Or, you could save some cash and try making one yourself. SmartGirlStyle has a great DIY tutorial to show you how.

Now, if commitment isn’t a problem for you and you want grey and white chevron on your floor, try a painted floor instead. Just look at this beautiful design from Merilee Mcgehee Designs:

Here’s a lovely throw pillow and blanket combo:

This chair is fantastic!

More Pillows. Love the reverse image effect:

This tray would pair up nicely with the chevron look, don’t you think?

A slightly bolder throw pillow and blanket combo:

So, what do you think of the soft grey and white chevron look? Would you like this pattern for your living space?

Design Elements {Natural Burlap}

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Natural Burlap has such a wonderful texture to it and a soft, neutral color. It is an inexpensive choice but can go great in casual and dressier spaces. The key is how you use it and what you pair it with. I really love using burlap in curtains. They create a soft, sheer effect when backlit. So lovely! I especially like to include a touch of burlap in primarily white or black spaces. The natural burlap color adds a lovely touch of warmth to keep the space from looking too cold. Working with new burlap is an environmentally-friendly choice in itself but why not go for recycled? Discarded coffee sacks make perfect upholstery or throw pillow fabric. Check out the wonderful designs below from Cloth Fabric. If you want to see some more coffee sack upholstery, give Recycled Brooklyn on Etsy a visit. I just love to see companies offering unique, eco-friendly products with such great designs. Keep up the good work guys!

So, what do you think of the use of burlap in interior design? Would you consider using burlap in your next project?

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Striped Burlap Curtains from Thrifty and Chic. Want a pair of your own? Check out Alicia’s DIY tutorial here.

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Burlap Upholstered Chairs and Throw Pillows. Available by special order from Cloth Fabric.

Design Elements {Black Seat Belts}

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Black Seat Belts in your interior design? Yes, you can! If you’re looking for an unexpected conversation piece for your space, try one of these great products made from black seat belts. Who knew that something as ordinary as seat belts could make such a striking design statement? Take the Phillips Collection dining chairs for example. These would be beautiful in a dining room but I could also see them making a great accent piece in a living room. And, I would love to have one of the Danko rockers in my bedroom. It’s so hard to find a nice, modern style rocking chair. Or, maybe an accessory item is more your thing? Ting has a great collection of seat belt cushions, cubes and hammocks. Just the ticket to cozy up your life.

So, what do you think of black seat belt furniture and accessories? Would you include them in your interior decor?

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Design Elements {Unweathered Copper}

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Copper has always been a popular metal but it seems to be even more so today. Maybe a little too popular in fact. Copper theft from homes has gotten so bad, it’s hard to get insurance on empty homes listed for sale. I ran into this situation when trying to sell my own home. (Not fun). But, I love this metal and continue to use it in my designs. The bright, warm tones of unweathered copper add an upscale metallic accent to any decor. It’s a timeless design element that’s been used for centuries but don’t rule it out for your modern spaces. Just check out this copper clad accent wall from the Sherman Residence in Brooklyn, New York. There are lots of copper toned products out there in either pure copper or made from other metals. You’ll tend to pay more for the real copper but the benefits of copper are well worth the expense. Copper is even naturally antimicrobial. How cool is that?

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Design Elements {Painted White Brick}

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I’ve been obsessed with painted white brick lately. I just can’t get enough of it. It has such a great texture to it and the white is so classy. If you’re trying to figure out what to do with the dated 70’s bricks in your home, maybe this is your answer. I found the perfect example of how beautiful an interior can be with white brick. Check out this space by Italian designer Paola Navone.  Isn’t it amazing? I could live there the rest of my life in perfect bliss…

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Designed by: Paola Navone
Photography by: Max Zambelli
Images from: Italian Elle Decor via Vosgesparis