How to Style a Buffet

Happy Monday Y’all! We had a fun filled weekend with some dear friends that came up to visit us from NYC. Sometimes a weekend full of laughter & good conversation with great friends is exactly what the doctor ordered. I’m feeling refreshed this morning!


So, while this post is titled “How to Style a Buffet”, it really should be called “how to style any surface” but that just didn’t sound as pretty. I get asked ALL the time for styling tips – people often find that their surfaces (buffet, tv console, side table, nightstand, mantle, dresser, etc) are either too crowded or too empty. It’s hard to find that balance of looking styled, yet natural.

A few key “rules” I like to follow when styling a surface:

Let one piece anchor the space

Stick to groupings of 3

Incorporate natural elements (plant or flowers)

Stack books to elevate / create mixed heights

Keep it cohesive with a color scheme

Here’s are two examples of how this can be done:

The above buffet is about 60″ long so I wanted to create two small spaces so that it didn’t feel overcrowded. The art (roughly 2/3 the length of the buffet – the perfect scale) anchors the space, while the two groupings create some visual interest. While everything is in the white/cream/grey family, I created interest by using various textures & materials (ceramic, marble, glass). The lamp provides more height and the flowers bring in a natural element. I’ve actually got another similar white vase that I swap out (it’s short and squatty) and I’ll fill both with greenery. So many options here!

The mantle above is a bit longer – about 70″ and so there was more surface space to cover. Ideally, I would like a larger mirror but this works for now. As you can see, I’ve stuck to the neutral pattern as well, but incorporated some brass, gold and wood to give it more of a pop. The tall, oversized eucalyptus really makes this space work for me. Again, you can see I used the marble + wood box to pair with the beads & candle (set of 3!) and the picture frames at varying heights keep it cohesive, yet interesting.

I hope this helps! If you follow these 5 rules for styling your surface, you can’t go wrong! If you have any questions or need help styling your own space, feel free to email me.

Have a great week!



Our New Living Space

When I announced that we were moving back in December, I put together a design board that gave a general outline of the style and feel I wanted our new place to have. Lucky for us, our home has some killer architectural character – 14’ ceilings, intricate molding, floor to ceiling windows with natural light & various built-ins. The bones are easy to work with but it did have some challenges as well, including a narrow/awkward living room layout, minimal storage and an overall small space of only 800 square feet.


With three of us (including our Frenchie, Mela) living here, I knew that we needed our main living space design to achieve 5 main goals:

  1. A bright, neutral color pallet
  2. Added storage, mainly hidden
  3. Comfortable seating for at least 4 (+ pup)
  4. A distinct dining area
  5. An open & spacious feel

Here’s how I did it:

A bright, neutral color pallet: The walls are a very light gray, the trim, molding, windows & ceiling are all bright white. I stuck to a cream/white/gray color scheme for all of the furniture to keep it visually bright and light. I incorporated some natural elements (wood coffee table, woven baskets, eucalyptus) to keep the space from feeling sterile. Also, I mixed various textures to warm up the room and keep it interesting – we’ve got microfiber, linen, silk, velvet, faux fur & more. Texture was key here.


Added storage: Behind the sofa and in the nook are woven baskets that store extra pillows, blankets and various dog toys. The coffee table also has two secret drawers that store all of our remotes, candles, chargers, etc. The buffet was the biggest game changer in this room – we have over 30 bottles of wine and a full bar in there. We also use this to store cute cocktail napkins, bar tools & cozies.

Design Tip: We keep the buffet top styled on every basis (less clutter), but we display a few items on a tray atop the bar when we have friends over.

living room1

Comfortable seating for 4: Our sofa is only 72” and though it’s not long enough for someone to sleep on (sorry out-of-town guests, you’ll have to get a hotel), it fits 2 comfortably and 2 more can sit on the chairs. If we are expecting more or need more seating, we can easily push back the sofa and add a few ghost chairs (or ottomans) for additional seating. We’ve had 4 people hanging out in the space multiple times and it’s always plenty of room.

Side note: Our space is too narrow to mount the television above the fireplace so we decided to place it on the wall across from the sofa. We rarely watch tv, but when we do it’s usually just us two and this is the most comfortable layout.

dining area2

A distinct dining area: If we didn’t have that pesky radiator on the back wall, I would have tried a bench/banquette against that wall and a rectangular table; however, I think that this 42” round tulip table works perfectly. I opted for ghost chairs for a few reasons – first, they take up minimal visual space so the area appears larger than it actually is. Can you imagine if there were four bulky chairs there? Second, they’re light weight and can be moved around easily when needed. Also, we can push the table against that back wall when hosting to open up the walkway between the kitchen & deck and use the table more as a serving piece.

living room2

An open & spacious feel: A huge mistake that people make (especially when renting/moving) is not using furniture that’s an appropriate scale for the space. Our sofa is only 72” but it’s the largest we could go for this room, without the hallway feeling crowded. We purchased two chairs and anchored it all with an oversized rug. By centering the furniture in front of the fireplace, not the room center, we were able to create a “sitting” area and a “bar” area. We played with a few layout options here and this one works the best for sure. Note that we also went with low profile furniture so that the bright window light wouldn’t be blocked.

Design tip: Ideally you want 36” for any walkway in your home to allow for a comfortable flow.

 So, there you have it, our little living room / dining room / bar space. Brownstones are always challenging to design because they’re long and narrow but I think that we did a great job maximizing our space, highlighting the features of the space and making a warm, inviting home. We love it here!

An Alternative to the Bar Cart

Now don’t get me wrong – I love a good bar cart setup. In fact, I had one in my last apartment. They’re a practical, functional solution to a small space and they’re pretty perfect for apartment living when you don’t have an actual dining space. However, I also they’re they are incredibly overdone, too trendy and a bit too predictable. Here are a few  examples of bar setups that I really like that are not bar carts:


I love the masculine, rustic look of this bar cabinet


This DIY Ikea hack via Brittany Makes is so modern & functional!


Obsessed with this gorgeous laquer cabinet that Bree has styled so perfectly!


This organized & stylish bar cabinet is practical yet mature


Another masculine bar cabinet via Frontgate – love how sleek it is

So when I was looking for a solution for where to put all of our wine / booze / bar items, I quickly ruled out the bar cart. I decided to go with a bar cabinet. It’s kind of the bridge between bar cart and dining hutch. Think of a classic buffet like your grandma has, but with modern design & trendy decor. I had my eye on this piece (this one too) but it was a bit too pricey so I opted for this one. The piece is scheduled to be delivered next week and I’m on the hunt for a new abstract art piece to go above it. I can’t wait to have it in our home so I can finally empty these last few boxes of booze and style this piece. Stay tuned for some updated pictures to come!

What’s your preference – bar cart of bar cabinet?!

Winter Mantle 4 Ways

Happy Monday Y’all! I had a super productive weekend so I’m feeling very fresh and inspired this morning! I was able to sell a few pieces of leftover furniture to make way for our new buffet, set to arrive this week! For now, I want to chat mantles. One of the pieces that sold me on our new brownstone is the fireplace and oversized mantle – I just love it so much! But once I took all of the Christmas decorations down, it immediately felt so bare & empty! Now, y’all probably know that I’m a less-is-more type of gal and I crave simplicity, especially in home design. Here are 4 simple, tasteful, charming ways I’ve styled our mantle. Given that it’s winter, I stuck to neutrals – white, gold, gray – and some wood + greenery to help warm it up a bit. As you will see, I kept the eucalyptus in every option as we need the height (16′ ceilings) and I just love it!

Option 1:

IMG_1593 copy (1)

Option 2:

IMG_1596 (1)

Option 3:


Option 4:


Now that you’ve seen all four options, help me decide which one should stay.

10 Gorgeous Holiday Mantles

With Christmas only one week away, I wanted to share 10 of my favorite mantles. Whether you’re hosting Christmas day, throwing a holiday party, or simply enjoying the comfort of your own home, mantle decor is a fun way to switch things up. I’m constantly redecorating mine and adding new pieces. Hopefully this will inspire you:




Which is your favorite?!


Our New Master Bedroom

If you’ve been reading along, you know that we are moving in a few short weeks. I revealed details of our new living room in last Monday’s post and while we’re keeping a few main pieces, I’m adding some new pillows, art and decor pieces. One of the best parts about moving is that you get to totally refresh your space! Our master bedroom  has needed a makeover for a long time but I was waiting to move because we are upgrading to a king bed (finally!). I’m still on the search for a new mattress but have been narrowing down the rest. In fact, I’m torn between two design options so I would love your input!

Option 1:

RH bed.jpg

Option 2:


As you can see there area  few similar pieces but a lot that is different. We have set of grey campaign nightstands that I want to keep – they’re simple, versatile and functional. I also want to use this round mirror that we have – it’s heavy & really pretty in person.

For the bed, I’m debating between a classic upholstered cream bed and this wood upholstered beauty. Either way I will stick with all white bedding but add some color in with the pillows.  I’ll likely do some gray, white and blush.

One main piece that we definitely need is  a new dresser. We’ll have one long, big wall across from our bed that will hold this piece – one large enough to fit two sets of clothes (lucky for us we have a huge walk in closet as well). I’ll either go classic white – with a muted gold hardware – or a light grayish-brown RH lookalike.

The room has a lot on natural light from two large bow windows and an overhead lights, so I’ll stick with two simple lamps – either mercury glass ones that I have or a ceramic white. Not going crazy on lighting here, if you can’t tell.

Whichever design I choose will dictate my rug choice as well, but I’ll keep it relatively neutral either way. I am leaning towards this silver faded fringe, this gray & white Moroccan trellis and this jute braided rug.

Okay, so now that you’ve seen my options…what’s your vote: 1 or 2?!

Our New Living Room

I hinted at some exciting news on Friday and here it is…South End Style is moving! We’re not going far but we are headed back into a through-floor brownstone in the heart of the South End, my favorite neighborhood of Boston. We’ll be a few short blocks from all of my favorite local spots, including Picco, Hudson & Blackbird Donuts. I can’t wait!


the adorable front staircase at our new home!

So with moving comes…you guessed it, redecorating! I’m actually selling a LOT of items so you local folks be sure to check it out (armoire, tufted bed, wood bed, tripod lamp, kitchen table, kitchen cart, gold side table, set of lamps, round mirror & nightstand)

We will be keeping some of our current living room furniture, selling a few pieces and adding a few to the mix. Our new living room has beautiful 13′ ceilings with detailed crown molding, a large fireplace, three huge windows & a whole lot of opportunity.  I’ll share more about our master bedroom & back deck (finally!) later but for now here is my design board for our new living room:

I’ll be keeping our current setup with this sofa, these two chairs, this coffee table & my new favorite rug (mine is similar and a killer Safavieh steal from Homegoods!). I’ll be switching out our current ivory/tan/gray pillows for a pair of velvet navy + some contrasting blush pillows for a little more color. I’ve also got a great neutral faux fur blanket that I’ll add just in time for cold weather. A gold + glass accent table will go in between the two accent chairs for additional surface space.

Our TV will be mounted on the wall (not above the mantle) so I’m still debating putting a thin, white console table to balance the space. Above the mantle I’ll likely style this round, gold mirror with a pretty vase and some eucalyptus branches to add some color. I’ll fill in with various white, wood & marble pieces.

To the right of the fireplace is a pretty large alcove (about 6’X13′) where I’d like to put a bar cabinet. I’m not sure which one yet but I’m liking this midcentury modern piece, this green glam piece and this classic, natural piece. Atop the cabinet, I’ll style with a pair of lamps and some bar accessories, like this mixer set. Above the cabinet, I’m debating between an oversized framed fabric piece or a light aerial beach print (I have one framed in white – will decide once I pick a cabinet).

So what do you think? Any suggestions for bar cabinets?