Simple Ways to Refresh Our Spaces with Caitlin Flemming

You may remember that at the very beginning of quarantine I interviewed my friend, author and talented interior designer, Caitlin Flemming, in an Instagram Live. I love Caitlin’s style so much–walking through her home is a breath of fresh air. A calming palette of neutrals, blues and textures, tidy (yet nothing is too precious), and curated with found pieces from her travels. Everything is intentional  and has a story which I absolutely love! She walked us through her San Francisco apartment and shared all of her wonderful tips for restyling our spaces and making them feel fresh again. I had been going room-to-room myself, organizing, adding color, swapping pillows and art and found it to be the best outlet. Just giving our spaces a bit of a refresh was truly the mood boost I needed during that complete shelter-in-place.

We had promised to answer all of your decor-styling questions in a blog post (whoops!)… but here we are months later finally getting this up! Even so, I know it’s not too late as I have found myself in need of a fresh dose of inspiration to go at the home re-styling again… and before we know it fall will be here and we will be in a fall-cleaning and organization mode again.

Thanks for just the dose of decor inspiration I needed this week C! x

How can we make our spaces feel fresh right now? 

I’m so thankful to have an apartment I enjoy spending time in! That being said, it’s been difficult to not have any outdoor space. I try to bring the outside in to help with that. In terms of keeping spaces feeling fresh, I have tackled projects, one room at a time. We’ve painted our bathroom and put up a beautiful Les Indiennes shower curtain that has a beautiful pattern, reorganized all of the closets, got Jackson an Ikea bunk bed that we assembled and painted, transitioned Amelia to a big girl bed, and we are about to do a little freshening up of our dining room. I think because we’ve been stuck in our apartment most of our day, we can’t help but want to freshen it up in as many ways possible.

What are your tips for setting up a workspace in a small apt?

My workspace floats around the house – depending on the needs of my family. I always like being in a room with good natural light and the dining and living rooms are perfect for this. My office is less than a block away from my home, so my husband and I have taken turns working there while the other one is with the kiddos. 

What are your tips for styling a credenza?

I don’t actually have a credenza, but the chest of drawers I have in my dining room works as one. I love styling this space as it can be seen from the living room and it’s a dramatic look through the hallway and then into the very end of the dining room. I always have a large vase with some sort of branches or foraged nature. In addition, I have my beloved Oatmeal Shop ceramic vase that is more like a sculpture. I also have a French mirror painted black, and artwork leaning on it. 

What are your general tips for decorating on a budget?

I always recommend a local flea market for decorating on a budget. You can still find unique and reasonable items that will have a lasting value. Some might need a fresh coat of paint, but it can be so much fun to create! Better to slowly decorate and keep within your budget. 

Favorite coffee table books

Still by Natalie Walton and of course, Travel Home, which I wrote with my Mama. I also like to buy vintage art books – which I definitely judge by their cover!

Where to find unique but not expensive art?

My favorite places for art are:

Lost Art Salon, Etsy, Instagram, Jennifer Ament, Josh Young, William McClure, Elsie Green (for antique pieces), Lauren Williams

You can sometimes wait for a sale, but I would prefer to save for what I really want, than to settle for something I won’t like in the future. I don’t mind waiting – it makes me appreciate it more when I do invest in it!

Do you have any tips for hanging art and creating meaningful vignettes?

When I am creating an art wall, it is definitely worth my time and effort to cut out paper images in the size of each piece. You then tape those to the wall until you get the right balance. It not only saves time, but you won’t end up with a wall full of holes!

Let’s chat shelf styling. I love that yours always look effortless and curated... what are your tips here?

My shelves are always changing and getting rearranged. I suggest varying the height of items so there is more visual interest. When they are all the same size, the eye doesn’t know what to focus on. I also try to vary the size of objects. And don’t forget to throw in some books. They make great surfaces for your beautiful items.

Tips for picking out throw pillows in the living room and bedrooms?

I like to have a variety of pillows. If you like patterns, consider trying out different combinations of large and small design but keep to the same color palate. Some houses also look great with a pop of color in their throw pillows. Definitely some of my best pillows are from Fragments Identity. I have a more neutral palate in my house and the texture of the pillows add so much!

Best places to find versatile blankets / throws for inside and outside?

Jenni Kayne, Amber Interiors, Vintage Rug Shop

How would you style a dresser in a bedroom?

I like dressers and bedside tables to be both functional as well as tranquil. Good reading lights, a beautiful bowl for your jewelry, space for the books you are currently reading and maybe a personal photograph. Above you can hang mirrors or artwork to add more interest in a room.

What are your tips for kids playroom bedrooms…  / kids storage in small spaces?

I’ve styled my kids bedroom several times – from when they were infants to kiddos needing it to work as both a bedroom and a play space. The bunk bed we just bought from Ikea, Jackson sleeps on the top and the bottom area has been made into their clubhouse. I took the mattress from the crib Amelia moved out of and moved it to the area covered in a blanket and topped off with pillows. They even have a little table and lamp to make it cozy. If anyone has a solution to the accumulation of toys, I’d love to know! 

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