Inspired Design

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DIY Decorating Horror Stories


Photo via

Halloween is fast approaching and everyone loves a good horror story. But this year we’re not talking ghost tales or Freddy Krueger. Instead, we’re focusing on DIY design horror stories! Here are a few from readers that will make your hair stand on end:

Stepbrothers bunk bed fail

Via Gif Bin.


The bedroom in my first off-campus apartment in college was tiny. To save space, I decided to purchase a loft bed so that I could place my desk underneath. My sole task was to measure the room. I don’t remember if I actually measured the room, or perhaps I didn’t do it correctly. I guess I thought all ceilings were pretty much the same height. After a trip to Ikea, my mom and I returned to my apartment to set up the furniture. We put together the bed, which was no easy feat, only to find that the mattress was approximately an inch from the ceiling. There was no way I could fit up there.

Ikea didn’t allow returns for this particular piece and we were stuck. My mom is extremely handy so we sawed a few inches off of the legs. The final product was wobbly and I have an irrational fear of heights. It wasn’t a good combination. I tried to sleep up there but eventually gave in, bought a futon, and squeezed it into the space. I slept on the futon for my remaining two years of college.


My mother created a drop ceiling using plain white tiles. She wanted the tiles to have texture so she removed them and painted them using a thick texture paint. When she put the tiles back in place, she discovered the paint had added too much weight and part of the ceiling came crashing down.


A few years ago I moved into an older house. The baseboards and trim in the bedroom looked a little dingy. I didn’t have much experience with painting at the time and didn’t use a primer as I was simply painting white over white. When I was finished, the room looked refreshed and I was happy. However, I was unaware that the previous owners had used oil paint. My latex paint apparently didn’t adhere properly and the paint started peeling. My hard work went right down the drain. Eventually I called in a professional.

For even more DIY horror stories check out the hilarious blog Pinstrosity, which chronicles failed attempts at recreating DIY projects found on Pinterest. Here’s an excellent example from one of their posts:

The Original Pin:

DIY decorations

Photo and tutorial via Hostess with the Mostess Blog.

The Finished Project:

DIY disaster

Photo via Pinstrosity.

Have you experienced any DIY disasters?

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to remedy any mistakes or avoid decorating disasters altogether!

Iris Interiors



Avoid Design Disasters!

Window treatment scale

Window treatments done right! Photo from Coco + Kelley via David Collins, who sadly passed away.

Window treatment mistakes

Either they didn’t order enough fabric or fell into the short curtain trap! Photo via Artistry Interiors, LLC.

Mistakes in interior design can be extremely costly, which is why in the long run hiring an interior designer can actually be a cost-effective option. Even the most well thought out plans occasionally go wrong and a professional has the experience to deal with the unexpected and remedy issues quickly. I ran across an excellent article on Huffington Post that outlines how to dodge common pitfalls and stay away from just plain design don’ts. Take a look at “How to Avoid Decorating Disasters.”


Germany: Inspiring Exteriors

Your front door is one of the first things that people see when they approach your house. It tells guests a little bit about your personality, your home, and can make a stunning first impression. On my recent trip to Germany, I couldn’t help but notice the incredible doors, flower boxes, and windows, ranging from ornate to rustic. Enjoy my photos:

Beautiful Front Door

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

Gorgeous blue door. Love the texture and pattern.

German Architecture

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

A close-up of a decorated door.

Wernigerode Germany

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

Hand-carved front entrance along a shopping street in Wernigerode, Germany.

German Architecture

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

A green exterior door with window details in Wernigerode, Germany.

German Design

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

Ornate hinges.

Entrance flowers

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

Flower boxes and a unique door create a welcoming entrance.

German Architecture

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

Blue and white door with pops of primary colors and painted design.

House Number

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

An inscription above a door in Bad Sachsa listing the owners/residents as well as the year the house was built (1750)

German Design

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

Brown front door with more hand-painted patterns.

Traditional German House

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

A traditional house with a decorated window.

Yellow Mailbox

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

An old-fashioned mailbox in the traditional yellow color (postal vehicles are also yellow).

German window boxes.

Photo by Iris Interiors LLC.

A rainbow of flowers make this home in the Harz Mountains stand out.

Which one is your favorite? How do you add interest to the entrance of your home?


Germany: Texture and Tradition

I recently vacationed in Germany, where I was born and raised. I visited my father who lives in the Harz Mountains and stopped in Berlin as well. When it comes to the country’s design, the element I’m most enamored with is the texture. Exteriors of homes, some hundreds of years old, are a mix of different materials. The traditional architecture is often accented with flowers in an array of colors.

Not only did I see historic places, such as the Wernigerode Castle, but I was reminded of my family history, as well. Enjoy my photos:

German Architecture

Photo by Iris Interiors.

A hotel in Bad Sachsa, a small town in the Southern Harz Mountains. Notice the half-timbered frame, flowers, and tiled roof. I especially love the curved wood beams over the balconies.

German design

Photo by Iris Interiors.

An ornate building on the main shopping street in Wernigerode, probably fully carved by hand. Amazing!

traditional German home

Photo by Iris Interiors.

A balcony in Bad Sachsa housing a witch (very Hansel and Gretel but actually a reference to the Brocken Mountain. Supposedly witches live there and meet once a year for Walpurgisnacht)). By the way in Germany you will frequently see a “witch” hanging in the kitchen, which is said to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Traditional German village

Photo by Iris Interiors.

A view of a small town in Germany, full of red tile roofs.

German woodworking

Photo by Iris Interiors.

A bank in downtown Wernigerode.

German woodworking

Photo by Iris Interiors.

A closer view of the bank. Look at the details!

traditional german architecture

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The Bad Sachsa Town Hall bearing the city crest.

Bad Sachsa Germany flowers

Photo by Iris Interiors.

My father’s home in Bad Sachsa.

Beautiful landscaping

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The view from my father’s veranda.

Traditional German architecture

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The home my grandfather was born in, located in Bad Sachsa.

Traditional architecture Harz Mountains.

Photo by Iris Interiors.

A house in Bad Sachsa.

German design details

Photo by Iris Interiors

A close-up reveals the year that the house was built.

German Castle

Photo by Iris Interiors.

Wernigerode Castle. Once a Medieval fortified castle, it was rebuilt in a Neo-Romantic Gründerzeit design in 1893.

Traditional German interior design

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The interior of the castle. Full of texture.

Wernigerode Castle Dining Room

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The dining room in the castle. Pretty much all rooms appeared to be either original or carefully restored.

Wernigerode Castle Ornate Dining Room

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The dining room features an opulent chandelier, incredible architectural features, and beautiful murals.

Traditional church Germany

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The exterior of the St. Nikolai Church in Bad Sachsa. On my father’s side i have records dating as far back as the 1700s of relatives which were either married or baptized in this Church.

Church ceiling 1700s

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The church ceiling.

18th century German church

Photo by Iris Interiors.

Another example of texture in the interior of the St. Nikolai Church.

Traditional German window box.

Photo by Iris Interiors.

One of my favorite aspects of German exteriors, window boxes. This one features “Ivy Geraniums”, which is probably the most popular plant for window boxes there.

Traditional architecture Germany

Photo by Iris Interiors.

The Wernigerode Town Hall.

German architectural details

Photo by Iris Interiors.

View of the Town Hall’s architectural details.

Berlin Street Sign

Photo by Iris Interiors.

My maiden name (:

More photos to come in future installments. What do you think of the architecture, texture, and traditional design?


Style Files: French Eclectic

Even if you’ve never set foot in France, it’s hard not to be drawn to the stunning, classic style. While we often think of French country or more opulent designs, French Eclectic melds formal and casual, dramatic and inviting, and past and present. If you’re drawn to antiques, the feminine curves of 18th century French furniture, classical Renaissance architecture, and rustic elements, yet still like to infuse your space with a chic modern sensibility and unexpected accessories, the French Eclectic style may resonate with you. Here’s a primer:

Louis XV furniture

Photo from flickr via Elle Decor.

This style often uses a light airy backdrop to allow certain pieces, such as this 1940’s chandelier, to act as a focal point. Louis XV-style chairs and a stool are updated with animal print. The faded, antique rug pulls the neutral color scheme together, while the ottoman (circa 1850) is a nod to the past. The curved shapes of the classic furniture are balanced nicely with the clean lines of the couch. As in any eclectic design, various eras and aesthetics are combined, such as the addition of a gallery wall comprised of American pressed botanicals.

This is the epitome of an eclectic space. The Louis Ghost chair is a modern classic and plays off of the aesthetic of the classic Louis XV armchair. When it comes to space planning with this style, conversation areas are a must, as illustrated above. The floor, distressed woods, and pops of white French country-inspired furniture are rustic touches. Antiques and flea-market finds are an important element and this room definitely gives the impression that its evolved over time. The chandelier is elegant, creating contrast with the more relaxed atmosphere.

This master bathroom falls more under Parisian chic than French countryside. Gold accents are another element of French Eclectic style. The refined mirror, a 19th century antique, and the beautiful chandelier both hail from France. To the left (not pictured) is a decidedly modern glassed enclosed shower. The two distinct styles are harmonized through the use of marble. which blends perfectly with the six-foot white tub.

French antiques

Photo via Creative Outpour.

Antique gold mirrors, classic furniture, and a sparkling chandelier are reminiscent of French royalty. As with most spaces decorated in the French Eclectic style, the walls are neutral, think white, grey, and creams. While a sedate color scheme is often accented with warm reds and golds, this space puts a twist on the theme with pale blues and greens.

French Eclectic interior design

Photo via

For those who don’t like the gilded look, wood-framed furniture in this style is often left untouched and natural or painted white. The vintage French sofa, rustic floors, modern floor lamp, and industrial style side table are a true cohesive mix of styles and texture. For a bohemian look, combine high and low accents. The easel gives it an inviting and artistic feel. Don’t be afraid to bring materials like wrought-iron in to the space to bring more over-the-top pieces down to earth.

Eclectic interior design

Photo via Anatomical Heart.

Classic French antique armchairs are paired with an antique rug, a modern table, and eclectic artwork. The funky chandelier is a surprising feature. The space also uses warm accent colors typically seen in the French countryside, such as yellow, orange, and red.

Vintage modern interior

Photo via Skonahem.

If you’re going to go eclectic, there’s nothing wrong with going bold. The hot pink chaise and combination of floral and pink fabrics makes this French Eclectic interior fun and unique. Modern elements are paired with French antiques, a stunning chandelier, and gold accents, making it quirky luxe.

Do you identify with this style? Which are your favorite spaces?


Secret Doors and Hidden Passageways

Hidden rooms

Photo via Pictify.

Hidden passageways and secret doors always seem magical. Hence, generations of children’s (and adults’) fascination with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Whether it’s an armoire that opens into a playroom or a bookcase that gives way to a relaxing reading room, there’s something cozy about a secret space.

To see “31 Beautiful Hidden Rooms and Secret Passages,” check out Buzzfeed’s compilation.


Have a Pint! English Pub-Style Basements

English pubs, or public houses, have been the nucleus of communities, particularly in villages, for centuries. Patrons gather to socialize, enjoy a pint of ale or their favorite spirits, eat, and perhaps play a game of darts or billiards. The history of the pub can be traced back to Roman taverns. Through the years, the traditional pub has become an architectural gem. Low ceilings, layers of dark wood and stone, soft lighting, classic decor, and roaring fires, make these establishments a cozy escape from the world.

Many homeowners have opted to bring a taste of history home by fashioning a basement bar inspired by the old English pub. Vintage elements, leather furniture, lots of texture, and rich, dark colors are combined to create the classic appeal. Here is some inspiration to help you carve out your own spot for entertaining: British-style.

The dark wood and tin ceiling tiles epitomize the English Pub vibe. The fully-stocked bar allows liquor bottles and barware to serve as accessories. The vintage wall decor lining the beam evokes pubs of the past. For another view of this space see below:

The wall color, ornate pool table, and light brown leather couches contrast perfectly with the dark wood ceiling beams and bar. Love the watering hole, game room, library mix.

English style pub basement

Photo via ENJOY Co.

A rustic take on the traditional pub. Wood, a fireplace, distressed leather chairs, and a cowhide rug offer a comfortable atmosphere. The mantel is made of vintage metal and hand painted to look like stone.

Whether it’s a dartboard or a pool table, games are common in pubs. This Irish/English-style pub basement is fun for all ages. The combination of wood and brick and the adorable sign feel authentic.

A cheery, updated version of an English pub. Behind the bar is a fully-equipped summer kitchen for entertaining. Tarnished tin ceiling tiles and pendant lights warm up the space. The distressed walls and vintage wooden door give the polished basement some energy.

English Pub Basement

Photo via Hendel Homes.

Carve out a corner of the basement for a pub-style getaway. The stone arch, dark wood, and soft lighting create a space that transports you back in time. The traditional bar stools feature amazing craftsmanship.

Basement Design

Photo via Dennis Foote.

A vintage phone booth is a quirky addition to the brick basement pub.

This English pub/wine bar inspired basement features rich colors. A hand-carved, 18th century griffin is prominently displayed and acts as a focal point in the traditional design.

Interested in introducing some elements of English pub design into your home? Here are a few products to spark your creativity:

wooden pub stool

Oak and leather Pub Stool available at Iris Interiors Shop.

DIY tin ceiling

Antique copper PVC ceiling tile available at Ceiling Tiles By Us.

Engraved pint glass

Personalized engraved English pub glass available at
Home Wet Bar.

Leather Tufted Sofa

London Chesterfield Sofa available at Iris Interiors Shop.

Pub lighting

Murray Feiss Wrought Iron Bowl Pendant from the Pub Collection available at Lighting Direct.