Healthy Meal Prep Tips for Busy Moms Who Have No Time + Free Printable Guide

10 Tips for Making Healthy Freezer Meals (with Recipes) | Fit To Be PregnantHealthy meal prep is something us moms want, but we are busy, busy, busy. We have careers, children, new babies, appointments, unpredictable schedules and sleep. But we *know* we need to take care of our health. We *want* to eat what is good for us and promotes a healthy pregnancy or healthy postpartum weight loss.

I get it. I have four kids and my husband and I run two businesses together. I am a volunteer head coach for Girls on the Run, I professionally coach 20+ women every week, I am studying for upcoming certifications, I have after-school activities and practices and doctors appointments to run kids to daily.

I am always on the go.

So how do I manage healthy eating not only for myself, but for my family? And how do I teach my clients to manage their own busy lives and healthy meal prep?

(Be sure to scroll down for a free printable healthy meal prep guide!)

Here are my 6 best tips for healthy meal prep for busy moms:


I am absolutely, 110% committed to healthy meal prep for myself and my family every single week. I understand, not just in theory but through experience, that 80% of my results (in this case, my improved health and fitness) will come from 20% of my actions. In other words, some efforts bring you a much bigger return on investment than other efforts, so put the majority of your energy into those actions.

And from experience, taking the time to meal plan and prep every single week has brought me by *far* the greatest return on my time investment. Because of the one to two hours I spend planning and prepping food, I am well-fueled with healthy and delicious food 95% of the week. I never have to worry about what I’m going to eat or what my family is going to eat. I’m never scrambling through the grocery store at the last minute, desperately trying to make something work and wasting precious energy. I’m never hungry because I don’t have food. I’m never grabbing something at a drive-thru because I didn’t know what else to do.

This commitment on my part is rock-solid because I know how much time and energy it saves me, and I won’t tolerate the chaos and energy drain in my life.

Do Some Research and Find Simple, Healthy Meals

I actually really love to cook (mostly because I really love to eat), but I save my complicated and time-consuming recipes for special occasions and holidays. It took me some time researching and experimenting before I narrowed down the healthy meal prep meals that were easy to prepare AND so delicious that I wouldn’t mind repeating. This was a time investment that has paid off for years and years.

It started with just a simple internet or Pinterest search, looking through healthy recipes that sounded good, then trying them out. If they were too complicated, they were never made again or saved for special occasions. If they were boring or bland enough that I got sick of eating them quickly, they were out.

This is going to take a little bit of time and energy, but the time and energy it will save in the future will be one-hundred fold.

Create a Ritual

Every Sunday, I sit down at my desk and plan our meals out for the week, both for the family and for myself. I look ahead to the week to see if there are any evenings that are especially crazy and need extra simple meals. I then write down what we will eat each night, what I will be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then use a shopping list app to organize what ingredients I need for everything. Then I order my groceries online (we use Kroger Clicklist) and my husband picks them up. This entire process takes about 30 minutes to an hour (longer when I first started, now I have it down).

Once the groceries are here, before they ever are put away, I get everything ready that I can. If I’m having a salad for lunch that week, the veggies get chopped and chicken gets baked and diced and stored in airtight containers. If there are dinners that call for shredded chicken, I go ahead and cook the chicken, season it, and store it in the fridge. Anything I can do in that hour to make the rest of the week’s cooking and eating easier, I do right then and there.

I only have to get things out, prepare, and clean up the one time. The rest of the week is just throwing the prepped ingredients together.

The process is going to feel out of your comfort zone at first, but the more you do it, the more it will become second nature. Soon you’ll be coasting on auto-pilot.

Repeat As Much As You Can Take

Wouldn’t it be great to have something new, exciting, healthy and delicious to eat at every single meal? While the thought might be lovely, for most of us with busy lives, it’s going to be more important to have sustainable, *familiar* routines in place. When you repeat meals, you become so familiar with the ingredients and the process of meal prep and cooking that you could do it with your eyes closed. There are no decisions to make, no thinking. This saves precious energy and makes the process easy; and when something is easy, we’re more likely to keep it up.

Keep it simple. Find the meals as stated above that meet your criteria, and repeat the hell out of them.

I have been eating a simple chicken salad for lunch for years. Every so often the small details might change – bell peppers and almonds instead of cranberries and walnuts, or seared tuna instead of chicken – but the idea stays the same. I love my daily salad, I love how it makes me feel and I look forward to it every day. And after all these years of making it, I could prepare it in my sleep.

My kids are a little tougher to please – so I rotate through several dinners a week. I keep a list of about 8-10 that I know are healthy, simple to make, and that everyone enjoys, and each week I simply go down the list. Some dinners are just thrown in a slow cooker and served with a side of roasted vegetables, so I save those for crazy nights with late practices and meetings.

Every six months or so, I’ll do a little research and see if I can find something new to add to my repertoire, just to keep things interesting.

In order to maximize on my time investment, I work with my brain rather than against it. I minimize decision-making and learning curves by repeating what I know.

Cook in Bulk

10 Tips for Making Healthy Freezer Meals (with Recipes) | Fit To Be PregnantWhenever you see an opportunity to cook in bulk, take it. It takes just as long to shop for and prepare 3 lbs of shredded chicken as it takes to prepare 1 serving, and you only have to prepare, use your appliances, and do dishes once.

Leftovers are your very best friend when it comes to always having healthy food in your home. On the nights when you have the time and energy to cook, cook in bulk, refrigerate or freeze the leftovers, and eat those on the nights when you don’t.

If re-heated leftovers aren’t your favorite, you could at least use your time to prepare multiple batches of food, portion it out, and have it ready to throw in a skillet or the oven. For example, chop up a ton of vegetables but only roast the ones you’re eating that evening, save the others to throw in the oven the next night.

Have Last Minute Backups in the Freezer

Balls will drop and plans will crumble, so I keep a stock of healthy-ish backups in my freezer for the evenings when I was planning for a healthy meal but couldn’t make it happen. This is usually a pre-made meal from the grocery freezer section. My criteria for healthy-ish:

  • less than 500 calories a serving,
  • at least 10g of protein per serving,
  • includes some sort of vegetable,
  • list of ingredients is mostly recognizable as food (less preservatives, etc)

Amy’s, Kashi, Evol, Healthy Choice, DiGiorno, and Trader Joe’s all make frozen dinners like chicken and pasta, burrito bowls, turkey burgers, zucchini “fries”, seafood paella, etc. that would make acceptable back-ups in case the need comes up.

As a bonus, I’ve created a printable healthy meal prep guide to walk you through the exact process I use to plan my family’s and my client’s meals. Click below to download:

The post Healthy Meal Prep Tips for Busy Moms Who Have No Time + Free Printable Guide appeared first on Fit To Be Pregnant.


Healthy Meal Prep Tips for Busy Moms Who Have No Time + Free Printable Guide


Get Your Space Oscar-Ready With These 10 Old Hollywood Glamour Decor Ideas

The Oscars are March 8. Why not get Oscar-ready by adding a little Hollywood-chic to your home? Old Hollywood glamour decor is fresher than you’d think — many of its elements like velvets, greys, mirrors and glass are perfectly modern and hot for 2018.

Here are some ways you can add a little old Hollywood glamour decor to your home, in time for the Oscars.

1. It’s all about silver, platinum and light metallic sheens

old hollywood glamour decor -

Layer matte and high-gloss shades of silver or grey in your home to ramp up the Hollywood luxe. Mirrors and chrome are two great ways to incorporate the look. Image: AM Dolce Vita

2. Add some fur

old hollywood glamour decor ideas

Faux fur pillows, rugs or throws, especially in grey, platinum or pewter tones add glamour to any room. Image: The Expert Touch

3. Curvy and rounded old Hollywood glamour decor is essential

The old Hollywood vibe takes cues from Art Deco style. Add curved furniture or a round mirror or table to get the look. Image: Jamie Herzlinger

4. Pattern and texture required

old hollywood glamour decor

Repeating patterns, tufting and quilted fabric are all important elements of the old Hollywood glamour decor look. Image: Centered by Design

Notice the patterns expressed in all the decor ranging from the geometric wall paper to the quilted bench and bed cover and the stripe detail on the rug and curtains. Image: Greg Natale

5. Mirrored decor and furniture add old Hollywood glamour to any room

Add a mirrored side table or some mirrored candle holders to “glamorize” your room. Image: L2 Interiors

6. Don’t skimp on the lighting

It’s all about drama — and the best place to add some is in the lighting. A large chandelier featuring lots of bling is the perfect way to glam a space a la Hollywood Regency style. Image: Kohler

7. Make friends with purple

Purple is the color of royalty — and its Hollywood counterparts. Add your favorite shade of purple; it looks fabulous with greys, silvers and whites. Image: Kimberley Seldon

8. Layer in velvet, suede, faux fur, silk and leather

A glamorous Hollywood Regency style home has to look and feel like a million bucks. Velvets, silks and suedes are a quick way to get the effect. Image: Starr Homes

9. Add clear glass and acrylic pieces

The clear effect not only adds glamour and shine, it also expands the look of a room. Image: Keough Sterns Interiors

10. Add your favorite Hollywood starlet to your room

If you’re a film buff, add your favorite icon to your walls as art. Go with a black and white image for that old Hollywood feel. Image: Design Stories SF

Now that your room is Oscar-ready, don’t forget yourself! A pair of silk pajamas or fabulous loungewear will tie in nicely.

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10 Things to Do With the Empty Space Over Your Bed

You’ve got the perfect headboard and bedding set up. But does your bedroom still feel a little … vanilla? The large and empty wall area over your bed is probably the reason something’s missing. It’s not easy to decorate the area over your bed — it’s a long and sometimes narrow area. Here are some easy …

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Check Out 15 Stunning Tile Design Ideas Just In Time for National Tile Day

National Tile Day is February 23. And we can thank the largest stone and tile show in North America, Coverings, for bringing it back. “National Tile Day is rooted in a desire to celebrate the many great benefits tile has to offer as a material,” explains Alena Capra, industry ambassador for Coverings. “We’re encouraging the architecture and design community to get inspired by tile.”

Tile is a great choice when you’re looking for something durable and unique. Nowadays it can even look like hardwood flooring, complete with the grooves and textures, but offers a lower maintenance surface that doesn’t need refinishing.

We’ve come a long way from the basic white 16″ squares of the past. Here are 15 tile design ideas to inspire you:

Mid-century modern tile design ideas

mid century modern tile design ideas -

A mid-century modern dining room wall is finished in a white retro tile to add texture. Image: Mod-Ified

modern tile design ideas -

A vibrant retro aqua tile backsplash offsets the crisp white cabinets and yellow pops of color. Image: Tile Desire

The geometric pattern appears 3D due to the shadowing of the design. Image: Anthology Interiors

Textured tile design ideas

bedroom tiles -

White honeycomb tile runs floor to ceiling in front of a marble field tile in this contemporary bedroom. Image: Cle Tile

bathroom tile design ideas -

Soft waves carved into the large format tiles add a peaceful, spa-like feel to this contemporary bathroom. Image: Porcelanosa

outdoor tile design ideas -

A home’s atrium is finished in a dimensional tile to create light and shadow textures from the skylight above. Image: Garrison Hullinger

Metallic tile

metallic tile design ideas -

This metallic herringbone-pattern tile is available in gold (shown) and silver. The tile is durable enough to work as a backsplash or floor tile. Image: Porcelanosa

New kitchen backsplash tile ideas

backsplash tile design ideas -

A small floral repeating pattern softens the hard edges in this chef’s kitchen. Image: Walker Zanger

backsplash tile ideas -

A powder blue, brown and white backsplash pattern gives the transition open kitchen a sense of depth and interest. Image: Walker Zanger

The wall tiles warm up the masculine and contemporary look of this kitchen. Image: CBD Lofts

This kitchen’s tricolor tile pattern ties in all the color elements perfectly. Image: Sustainable Kitchens

 Modern floor tile design ideas

A kitchen tile floor is one of the easiest surfaces to clean and maintain. Image: Optimise Design

bathroom tile ideas -

Black and white marble tiles form a stripe pattern on the floor and in a modern grid pattern on the bathroom wall. Image: Optimise Design

Bathroom tile design ideas

Vivid turquoise raised elliptical tiles work well with the cherry wood bathroom vanity. Image: Sarah Jeffries Design

bathroom tile ideas -

Layers of monochromatic tiles in the form of distressed wood planks, marble squares and octagonal shapes create an understated yet elegant bathroom. Image: Porcelanosa

Which tile design idea is your favorite? Comment here or post your favorite on our Facebook page using the hashtag #nationaltileday.

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Awesome Room Divider Ideas, Even If You Have a Small Space

Open space living in lofts, studios or homes with high ceilings and few walls are very popular. The open architectural look may be gorgeous, but not always practical. Being able to have a private bedroom or a way to divide the living space from the dining room would create a more functional feel to a home.

So how can you add a little intimacy or privacy to a room without closing up your space permanently? By getting creative and adding a room divider that can open and close as needed, or moved to another spot. Check out these awesome room divider ideas that can work in nearly any space, large or small.

Room divider ideas using bookcases

There’s no better way to multitask than to use a room divider that features storage, too. A bookcase may be the perfect solution. For the ultimate flexibility, add locking wheels to the bookcase so you can roll it to where you need. Or if you’re sure you won’t be moving it, consider adding a built-in cabinet to divide a space.

contemporary room divider ideas -

A sleek wood bookcase with no backing divides the open living area without blocking sunlight. Image: Musa Design

room divider ideas for the bedroom -

This studio owner added a wall of bookcases to create a more private bedroom feel. Image: Kea Design

small studio room dividers -

A built-in bookcase is the only wall in this small studio. It doubles as storage and a divider to separate the living area from the bed. Image: Elayne Barre

room divider ideas

A centered cabinet can store cutlery and china on the dining room side and hold books and the television on the living room side. Image: Ciccozzi Architecture

Hanging room dividers

When floor space is of a premium, hanging a room divider can be the perfect solution.

room dividers

The room divider by Blomming appears to be made from a textile in a laser-cut pattern, but it’s actually more modular than that! Each diamond, or facet, can be tilted to open to create a custom look.

For a sleek fabric room divider, hang a curtain featuring large metal grommets from a simple chrome bar mounted on the ceiling. Image: Podio Arquitectura

Geometric room divider ideas

Sometimes a room divider is nothing more than a design feature that creates the illusion of dividing a large or small area without actually closing it off. These room divider ideas are the perfect example. They add a custom look to a room that’s memorable.

Panels of stacked wood blocks add a graphic look to the area dividing the living room and dining room. Image: Betty Wasserman

A custom metal panel with leaves and vines not only divides the space, but creates beautiful shadows on the floors when the sun shines in. Image: SFA Design

The clever installation of a graphic wall serves as both a headboard on one side and a desk on the other side. Image: Kimberley Seldon

An industrial loft’s focal point is a glass and iron room divider. Image: Axis Mundi

Slatted wood room divider ideas

Simple wood slats can be mounted to create a sense of a smaller, intimate area without completely closing off the spot. Depending on a home’s decor, the look can be mid-century modern or contemporary in style.

Wood slatted room dividers create a small library or sitting room in an open loft. Image: Stebelskiy Studio

Adding uplights and some greenery to a slatted room dividing wall create a zen vibe. Image: Futurcret

The wood slats of this contemporary home were stained in a rich black tone. Each slat rotates to close off the space completely or open it up as shown. Image: Don Taylor Design Associates

This room divider hides the stairwell. Image: Maurizio Giovannoni

The light-color stain of the wood slats adds a natural Scandinavian feel to the small studio space. Image: Mr. Mitchell

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Butterfly Wings Inspire Art Studio Design in Connecticut

This small art studio in Connecticut, USA, is inspired by the closing of a butterfly’s wings. The dwelling is a sanctuary for art and reflection.

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Dueling DIY: First Wall Painted and Murphy Bed Progress!

Hey everyone! How ya doing? I feel like it’s been forever, but I know it’s only been about a week since I last gave you guys an update on the ol’ blog. My silence has been WELL-earned, as I’ve been putting 1000% of my efforts into creating a booth for Rust-Oleum at WorkbenchCon 2018 here in Atlanta, GA.

I. Am. So. Tired. But I’ll have more on that for you all later.

Since today is Wednesday and I’ve scheduled for my Dueling DIY update against Charlotte from At Charlotte’s House (as promised when I announced the challenge at the beginning of February in case ya missed it, which also, thanks to my tired muscles, feels about eight years and twelve splinters ago), I wanted to stop in and get you guys caught up in all things guest bedroom!

Just as a quick reminder, this Dueling DIY challenge is meant primarily to motivate both Charlotte and I to work on a room we know we’ll otherwise slack on unless we have some friendly competition. And as I’ve seen in Dueling DIY rooms past, the potential for someone to shame me publicly for watching TV instead of working on my DIY projects is very effective. I asked Charlotte to co-host for this room since she is also doing a spare room in her house, and here we all are. We’ll be updating each other and all of you bi-weekly, and including a monthly vlog/video of our progress on Youtube as well.

Despite the fact that my attentions have been placed largely elsewhere these last two weeks, I HAVE made progress on the room. Charlotte was probably hoping that I would have nothing to share because she knows I’m distracted. She even sent me a sneak peek at what I assume is a new light fixture she bought. She teased me about it on her IG stories, which expires every 24 hours, so I unfortunately don’t have her SMUG FACE to share below, so I used a different picture of her below instead. 

But as for me? My new ceiling fan was not only bought — it’s installed.


ugly boob light - guest bedroom
ugly boob light


Is BOOYAH even a phrase people use anymore? Oh well… I’m sure if I had a few extra hours of sleep last night, I’d have come up with something more clever. Also, please excuse the less-than-thrilling lighting going on until I have a sec to shoot new pics (and honestly, until the other walls are painted, it’s not like it’s going to look all that “wow” until I start building the Murphy bed).

Speaking of the Murphy bed: the hardware should be on the way very soon! It should also be coming with a few more pieces of hardware, such as the cabinet door hinges, slides for the slide-out shelves I’m adding, and jigs to help me line up everything correctly. I’ll be learning how to install it all right along with you guys, basically, so let me know of the kind of details you’re really curious about as we go, and I’ll be sure to include them in those posts.

But THAT’S NOT ALL. I got a total of one wall painted. Ha!

I painted the wall on the left (where the window is) the same color that I will be painting the eventual built-in cabinetry that will house the Murphy bed. I want to keep it all kinda seamless on that half of the space, since the other half of the room will be a soothing, sagey dark green. I full expect to have green walls in that room within the next week, post nap-and-post-splinter removal.

Also: I have a new DIY project on the way for you guys! This little guy may look kinda ordinary as a simple curtain rod, but I added in a dowel rod to hold hanging plants! If it all goes the way I’m seeing it in my head, these hanging plants will grow long and lush against both sides of the window (thanks to the bright-but-filtered light that the sheer curtains will eventually add).

So, that — short and sweet — is the first start to a lot of progress that will be unfolding in this guest space. The rest of this week, I’ll be at WorkbenchCon with lots of other bloggers and Youtubers to soak up their knowledge and generally just have some fun (when you have friends that you’ve only really known online for a while, it’s fun to meet in person to actually say hi). Charlotte will even be there too, so I’ll keep you posted if we have any kind of showdown worth sharing. 😉

What have you been working on? Is anyone else redoing their guest room? Please feel free to share a link to your update if you are participating in the Dueling DIY challenge and would like to post about your guest room’s progress! Oh! And head over to Charlotte’s blog to see what her room is looking like.

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Dueling DIY: First Wall Painted and Murphy Bed Progress!


We Asked Interior Design Pros to Share Their Best Tips on Small Space Living

The pros weigh in on how they handle small space living. Image: McGinn Photography

Anyone who’s ever had to deal with a tiny apartment knows that small space living comes with its own set of challenges. It doesn’t mean designing these spaces is impossible. With a little planning and forethought, even the most cramped spaces can become equal parts functional and eye-catching.

If you’re dealing with tight square footage and aren’t quite sure where to start, you’re in luck. We asked some interior design pros to share their best tips for designing small spaces. Keep reading to see what they had to say.

Plan your space carefully before you start buying. Image: Finch London

Think it through

“Make sure to be precise as to the function of the space. Ask yourself questions about how you use the room. For example, do you need storage for kids toys? Is a sectional a necessity or will a sofa and a chair be fine? Would a round table be a better fit for your dining area? Asking these types of questions will help you identify your specific problem areas — and viable solutions before you start to purchase furnishings, which will ultimately save you time and money. ” — Basia Falcon, owner and head designer of Sycamore & Gray in Highland Park, IL.

Go big with a statement piece. Image: Kelly Martin Interiors

Don’t discount a statement piece

“Get the size right! Too often consumers think my space is small so I’ll buy a bunch of small pieces. Top designers know that’s the exact opposite of good space planning — one stunning statement piece of anything always makes a better impact than many busy small items just creating visual clutter.” — Charmaine Wynter of Charmaine Wynter Interiors Inc. in Southlake, TX

Invest in uplighting. Image: Lindye Galloway Interiors

Opt for lifted lighting

“In smaller spaces, flat areas like the floor and table tops are at a premium, so consider lighting solutions that hang in the air like wall sconces by your sofa and pendant lighting by your bed. However, if your home relies on recessed can lighting for most of its illumination, be sure to layer in some floor or table lamps so that you have light casting up onto your ceiling, too. Leaning too heavily on recessed lighting tends to leave the ceiling in darkness, and that makes any space feel smaller.” — Rebecca West, Interior Designer at Seriously Happy Homes in Seattle, WA

Let color unify the space. Image: Ally Fountain for Ethan Allen – Bellevue

Consider a unifying color

“I recommend covering all the walls of the room in one color to make it feel larger. Consider using a warm and rich or soft and soothing hue to cover the majority of the room, including the ceiling. Highlighting one unifying color fades defining lines, which enhances the coziness of the space. Additionally, using that wall color at least one other time in your space — either in an area rug or a small accent piece — will pull your style together while continuing to let it feel open.” — Dee Schlotter, Color Expert, PPG Industries, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA

Use multi-functional pieces wherever possible. Image: West Elm UK

Make it multi-functional

“Regardless of your style, the most important thing to decorating a small space well is to invest in pieces that can be used for more than one thing. If space is an issue, think about investing in multi-functional furniture like a set of nesting tables that can double as a coffee table. A desk can also function as a buffet when entertaining, or even a bench can be a coffee table, extra seating.” — Lisa Melone Cloughen of Melone Cloughen Interiors, Inc. in New York, NY

Use these tips to get the most out of small space living. Image: Day True

Most of us would agree that small space living requires a certain amount of flexibility and creativity. However, when done right, there’s no reason why even the tightest of spaces can’t showcase a design worthy of acclaim. To help you get the most out of your space, we asked interior design pros to share their best advice for helping compact rooms shine. Read over their tips and do your best to incorporate them in your own interiors. Sometimes one tip makes all the difference.

Do you live in a small space? If so, what tips do you have for making limited square footage work in your favor? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Two-Toned Kitchen Cabinet Trend

two-toned kitchen cabinet

Are you ready to get in on the two-toned kitchen cabinet trend? Image: Zoe Wighton Photography

Kitchens have always been at the forefront of interior design trends and for good reason. For most of us, the kitchen is one of the most used rooms in our homes, so there’s no reason not to invest in aesthetics. These days, two-toned kitchen cabinets are the look everyone seems to be clamoring over, and all it takes is one look to see why this trend is piquing homeowners’ interest.

If you, too, have fallen in love with the two-toned look, you’re in luck. In this post, we’ll explore some of the most common ways people are getting in on this trend. Read them over and decide which one works best for you. At the end of the day, whichever one you choose is guaranteed to bring plenty of visual interest to your home.

focal point

Make one set of cabinets your focal point. Image: J NORD WOLFE General Contracting Inc.

Pick a focal point

One of the most common ways for someone to get in on this trend is through choosing one set of cabinets to become a focal point for the space. In this case, a kitchen island is usually chosen because of its central spot in the layout. However, there’s no need to feel limited by that arrangement. Before making your decision, consider using space planning applications to see how a splash of color can draw the eye to various angles of the room.

After you decide on the placement, it’s time to think about color. If you decide to go this route, remember the purpose of a focal point is to be eye-catching. It can stand up to a big and bold shade. The hue you choose is entirely up to you, but those who want to be extra on-trend may want to consider using Ultra Violet, Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year or a jewel tone.


Consider using other materials like wood. Image: Henrybuilt

Think beyond paint

If a bold paint color isn’t quite your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to apply this look. One of them is to use two separate materials in your cabinet design. A wood finish is typically selected for part of the look, but you could, for example, mix it with laminate for a sleek, modern look or glass and aluminum to give the room an industrial feel.

If you’re planning on mixing and matching in this way, remember that design inspiration is the key to success. Use your intended design style as a starting point and then use sites like Freshome to determine which materials are most commonly used together in that aesthetic. That way, you can be sure that your final product will exceed expectations.

bold color

Make a statement with a bold shade. Image: Heidi Caillier Design

Go darker on the bottom

Another common way to utilize this trend is by using a darker shade on your lower cabinets and a lighter shade on top. On the one hand, this look works because it allows you to make a statement by using a bold color on your lowers and simultaneously helps to ground the space. On the other, it also helps the space look larger because the lighter shade on your upper cabinets will help draw the eye upward.

In this case, you have a choice on how to present the trend. You can pair a bold color with white, as shown above. Alternatively, you could try for an ombre look. Either way, the key to pulling this look off is to repeat the lighter color in other applications throughout the room.

lighter on top

Don’t forget to add a few coordinating elements. Image: Hughes Developments

Remember coordinating elements

However you decide your cabinets should look, there is one key detail to keep in mind: Each one of your cabinets should include some sort of coordinating element. Remember, when you have two distinct looks in the same space, it’s crucial to include a few details that will make it clear that they belong together.

You can go about tying your cabinets together in a few ways. In the picture above, for example, both the upper and lower cabinets fit within the same color palette. Consider using two different shades of the same color as your equalizer. However, if you’d rather include two distinct hues, you should think seriously about using the same hardware throughout the space to bring the look together.

two-toned kitchen cabinet

Use these tips to pull off the two-toned kitchen cabinet trend. Image: Tradewinds General Contracting Inc.

Kitchen design trends are nothing new, but we’re particularly excited about what’s happening right now. The two-toned kitchen cabinet design trend is here and it looks like it will be around for quite a while. Use the ideas in this post as your design inspiration to create a look that matches your personal tastes. With just a few small tweaks, you can create an on-trend look you’ll love for years to come.

What do you think of the two-toned kitchen cabinet trend? Will you consider trying it out in your own home? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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The 4 Most Common Living Room Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

living room mistakes

Are you making any common living room mistakes? If so, we have the fixes you need. Image: Susan Hoffman Interior Designs

These days, the living room is one of the most important rooms in the home — and also the breeding ground for some of the most serious interior design mistakes. Luckily, whether the issue is sofas lining the walls or ignoring aesthetics in favor of strict functionality, most of these problems also have a fairly easy fix.

If you think you may be guilty of one or two living room mistakes, keep reading. We’ll show you how to identify the issue at hand, explain why it doesn’t work, and teach you how to make the necessary changes to bring your design to the next level. Sometimes small tweaks make all the difference.

Keep an eye on the proportion of your furniture. Image: Thayer Design Studio

Misunderstanding proportion

Proportion is one of the key elements of interior design. Essentially, this concept boils down to the way in which items in the room relate to one another. Ideally, each component of the room varies in shape and size to keep things visually interesting, yet still come together to make the space feel properly unified.

To do this, most designers make use of the golden ratio. This equation says that furniture arrangements are most aesthetically pleasing when kept to a 2:3 ratio. Take the picture above as an example. You’ll notice it features a coffee table that’s two-thirds the length of the couch and a couch that’s two-thirds the width of the area rug. Aim to mirror these proportions in your own design.

You probably won’t have to break out any rulers to pull this look off. Use your perception to find the proper proportions. As you arrange your space, pay close attention to how these set-ups make you feel. If something feels “off,” play around with the arrangement until you feel more at ease. At that point, your proportions will likely be in order.


Be sure to create a seating arrangement in your layout. Image: Suk Design Group LLP

Phoning in the layout

We’ve all seen a living room or two where all the furniture is pushed up against the walls, leaving one cavernous space in the middle of the room. While this initially may seem like a great way to make the room feel bigger, it ultimately leaves the space feeling off balance. It also vastly limits the amount of usable space.

In this case, rather than using the walls as your guide, your goal should be to create distinct groupings with your furniture. Start by picking a focal point for the room — such as a fireplace, some built-ins, or even a sizable TV screen — and build your arrangement around that point.

Most living room designs will center around this main grouping. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be the only one. If you have enough space to create an area that has a secondary function — like a reading nook or work desk — arrange those items in a grouping of their own. The important thing is that every piece of furniture feels as though it was purposefully placed to work with the rest of the items in the room.


Layer design elements to build visual interest. Image: Marie Flanigan Interiors

Neglecting your layering

These days, living rooms are some of the most-used spaces in our homes. They’re where we go to kick back, relax and unwind after a long day. However, as these rooms have become progressively more “lived-in,” they’ve also fallen victim to prioritizing function over form to the extent that the space ultimately feels incomplete.

When your space is lacking that aesthetic touch, effective layering is the key to bringing it back to life. A complete design is made up of a combination of the following elements:

  • Wall coverings: Paint, wallpaper
  • Flooring: Wood, carpet, vinyl
  • Furniture: Beds, chairs, tables
  • Textiles: Pillows, blankets, area rugs, bedding
  • Lighting: Overhead lights, table lamps, ambient features
  • Wall hangings: Photos, artwork, mirrors
  • Decor items: Flowers, coffee table books, tchotchkes

Your best bet is to look around the room and take stock of any layers missing in your design. Then, over time, make an effort to include them. As you add items, be sure to choose items that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, so you’ll also see the benefit of additional visual interest.


Unity will make your look come together. Image: Peter Eskuche, AIA

Forgetting about unity

Sometimes, our living rooms can become collections of the design elements we’ve collected over the years rather than a single, definitive style statement. Whether it’s a result of combining households or several moves, a touch of unity is usually all it takes to pull even the most eclectic design together.

In this case, color is your secret weapon. Take a second to look at the photo above and notice how the vast majority of items fall within the same color palette. Even if you’re not a fan of matching that much, adding a few coordinating shades can help pull the room together. Barring color, you could also use pattern or texture to create a common thread.

living room mistakes

Use our advice to fix these common living room mistakes. Image: Catherine Staples Interiors

Now that we’re spending increasing amounts of times in our living rooms, their design has taken on a greater level of importance. With that in mind, we believe it’s time to move beyond some of the faux pas that have plagued these spaces for years. We’ve outlined some of the most common living room mistakes and how to fix them. Read them over and take a keen eye to your own interiors. Sometimes a few small changes are all that’s needed to completely refresh your look.

What are your thoughts on these living room mistakes? Can you think of any others to add to the list? Share them with us in the comments below.

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