My Favorite Versatile Home Items

As someone who admittedly likes to move things around and try out new decor super frequently, it’s hard for me to feel super “attached” to certain items (actually, that’s not 100 percent true…I just want to keep everything and switch it out as often as I please–if only I had the space!). However, there are several pieces that I’ve purchased over the past few months and even years and haven’t regretted for a second.

forbetterdays4@gmail.com
forbetterdays4@gmail.com

First up is the Louis mirror I bought before moving into my current apartment. I’d been wanting one for awhile, and when Ballard Designs was having one of their sales, I went for it. I love the style–it’s elegant without being too over the top, so it goes with lots of different styles. It really completes my dresser area and is totally functional and big enough for me to get a good view of my outfit.

Hado Photo
Hado Photo

My IKEA couch is something I mention in all of my home tours because it’s such a classic (at least in my spaces!). It’s held up wonderfully over the past four-plus years (minus several wine spills on the cushions, which I eventually replaced for good last summer by ordering a new slipcover). The only problem is that the new slipcover that IKEA makes is made of slightly different fabric than the sofa. I wouldn’t say it’s super noticeable, but it sticks out a little. I’ve also been really happy with the color–the gray goes with lots of different patterns and isn’t “loud” by any means. Trust me, you don’t need to have a $1,000 couch to tie your space together!

I bought this lamp from Target last year and while it’s currently in our living room, it could really work anywhere. I purchased a standing version off of Craigslist when we moved in, and that one is downstairs as well. I love the modern look and the gold, although I wouldn’t say it provides the best light. Still, for the price and the cute look, it’s a fave!

This jute rug from West Elm is everywhere, and for a good reason. I got ours on Craigslist right before moving in, and I snagged it for a steal (only $50!), which was amazing! It’s such a popular rug and is totally comfortable on its own (I was worried about the texture of the jute) or would look good with a colorful rug layered over it. It doesn’t shed too much (another concern of ours), although I’ve noticed little fibers on my clothes if I’ve been sitting directly on it.

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Call them unnecessary or overpriced (I won’t challenge you) but Diptyque candles are such a fun luxury item to have at home. They smell amazing, look stylish even when they’re empty, and add the right amount of glam to any space. This past summer, I had the chance to visit the Diptyque store while I was in Paris, and it was a dream–so many good smells!

What’s on your “must list” in terms of home items?

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How to Find the Perfect Accent Decor Piece

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Lately I’ve been drawn to all sorts of quirky accent pieces, so I was thrilled when I took a day trip to Frederick, Maryland, with my mom last week and visited several of the amazing antique stores in the area (I seriously could’ve spent the entire day exploring each nook of every store–there were so many great places–and for that matter, prices!). One thing that I’d been searching for forever was a cute little stone bust to place on my dresser. I search Etsy every now and then and just never had that much luck finding the right style/price/size. It didn’t occur to me to look for one during our trip, though, so I was ecstatic when my mom spotted this little lady for only $18. She didn’t even know about my failed Etsy searches, she just knew it was something I would like! I ended up just leaving with the bust and the glass vase (a recycled bottle) shown above, but I easily could’ve taken more things hope with me (#willpower).

I thought I’d share a few of my tips for when it comes to antiquing/thrifting–some of these are ones I should really keep in mind myself a little more than I usually do!

1) Buy strategically. You can interpret this in a few ways. I have some friends who are the most indecisive shoppers ever and will leave things on hold in stores almost every time they run an errand. (On the contrary, I’ve never been like this and scoop things up IMMEDIATELY when I see them–although I’m getting a little better about debating whether or not I really need something). Obviously in thrift store situations, you can’t keep items on hold, and you also may not be able to return them (again, I’m not a huge returner, but I have a lot of friends who are, and sometimes it’s nice to have that as an option). If you’re concerned about whether a piece will fit in your space, measure before you leave the house and bring your tape measure with you, because there’s (probably) no looking back once you buy that chair/nightstand/rug!

Going along with this, if you like something a LOT, you should scoop it up and purchase it that day (or minute, really!). The worst feeling ever is when you’re deliberating getting something, go back to the store the next day, and find out that the item sold. (I swear this makes me want the item even more than I probably did at first glance!). That said, don’t just buy something because it’s a good deal. If you aren’t normally into a particular style or have no use for an item, don’t get it just because it’s cheap. Unnecessary clutter is no fun and will just make your life more stressful!

2) Think about DIYs. I’ve mentioned this before, as there’s so much that paint and new fabric can do to completely transform a piece. That said, don’t get something that you’ll likely never take the time to fix. I’ve definitely been guilty of buying what I think is the perfect piece to paint and then never doing it. Again, you don’t want to accumulate clutter! If you’re not normally a DIY person or just don’t want to spend extra time and money making over a piece (even if it is a good deal), leave it behind.

3) Consider multiple purposes. Maybe a crystal or silver dish would also make the perfect jewelry holder, or a cute vase could double as a jar for makeup brushes. Get creative–I love seeing how people put different items to use in ways that are a little more untraditional. Cake stands look adorable when they’re used to hold perfume bottles, for example.

4) Ask about the item. Obviously you can’t really do this at a place like Goodwill, but if you’re at a smaller, one-of-a-kind store, the workers may know the story behind a certain piece (and I’m nosy, so I like knowing where something originally came from!). When I was at Miss Pixie’s a few weeks back, I found the cutest wall art that looked New Yorker-esque and asked one of the sales clerks about it. It turns out that he had actually framed the pieces himself and they were from an old UVA yearbook–I never would’ve guessed had I not asked, and now I have a cool story to tell about the piece I ultimately brought home with me!

5) Need more tips? Check out this post I wrote awhile back about thrifting furniture, and this one about some of my favorite thrift and vintage stores in DC.

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Summer Bags

Happy Friday! What’s on everyone’s agenda for the weekend? I’m excited to take it easy and try a new brunch spot with a friend on Saturday before heading to a work conference on Sunday. It’s right nearby, so we’ll be commuting back and forth and it’ll be nice to be in a new environment for a few days in advance of what will be a busy second half of the week in the office!

Ok, maybe it’s just the 70-degree weather we had earlier this week, but it’s starting to feel like spring/summer really is right around the corner! Although, to be totally honest, I’m still kind of hoping for a snow day or two…ever since moving back to DC, I haven’t really experienced any real winter weather.

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I, like many other bloggers, have developed a total straw bag obsession over the past year or so. When I saw this cute Free People bag, was actually reminded of my amazing Amazon find last summer–they look pretty similar, don’t you think? The price point on the Free People bag isn’t awful, but for something that isn’t super practical (it doesn’t really hold a ton), I’ve loved my Amazon purchase!

I’m also a huge fan of Francesca’s for accessories. I always forget to look there and then go on their site and find so many great options! Below are a few I’m loving:

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Nordstrom BP always has super cute, affordable options as well, you just have to do a bit of digging through their massive site!

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Umm, this bag…obsessed with the straw AND the pom poms. And it’s under $30?! The only thing is that it looks a little big to tote around…sometimes clutches just seem too large

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Last but not least, the perfect splurge-worthy bag from 31 Bits is calling my name:

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How I Got Back Into My Workout Routine

I’ve you’ve read this blog awhile or we’re friends in real life, you probably have heard about my struggles to find a good gym in my new neighborhood (and I even went as far as testing about 5-6 different options earlier this year!). Fortunately, I’ve found a gym that’s about a two minute walk away, and while it costs a little more than I’d like for a pretty basic workout facility, the minimal distance is SUCH a selling point. I love being able to go either straight from work or after dropping off my stuff, and it’s so nice to not have to worry about commuting back to my apartment at the end of a tiring workout.

I was realizing the other day that this is probably why I went in New York so much–my gym was a minimal distance away and just fit so well into my routine as a result of the lack of travel time. It’s amazing how something like even traveling 15 minutes each way to go work out can put a damper on your day! And once I started going a few days in a row, my habit slowly formed and it became easier to make working out an everyday or almost everyday thing.

(Pssst…the best part of exercising? Picking out cute workout clothes! Shop my favorites above).

Another thing I’ve enjoyed this year is treating myself to Soul Cycle classes every now and then (I bought a pack last month) to switch things up. I always look forward to working out there (more than anywhere else!) and having a studio relatively nearby (I can walk in roughly 10 minutes) has been an awesome benefit. While I likely won’t splurge on these every month (gotta keep my priorities in line!), they were a great weekend or after work activity on days I needed a little more motivation (there’s nothing like good music and an instructor yelling at you to keep you working hard for 45 minutes!).

If you’re struggling to find a good gym or just feel blah about working out, try seeing if there are simple ways you can adjust. For example, I discovered my college iPod again the other day (seriously throwback over here…) and am LOVING listening to my favorite songs from, like, six years ago. Good music is a game changer–if you need recs, message me! I’m also super picky about machines (not all ellipticals are created equal!) and kept that in mind during my gym search as well. If you’re stuck at a gym for a certain period of time due to a contract, see what other machines you can try…you may be surprised what else you like. I absolutely hated the ellipticals at my grad school gym and basically ended up biking the whole year (not my favorite thing to do every single day, but it was nice to have a little change). Making even the slightest adjustments will make your exercise routine feel like WAY less of a chore!

 

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My Favorite Neighborhood Spots

Hope everyone who had yesterday off from work enjoyed their three-day weekend! My mom and I went to Frederick, Maryland, for a morning of antiquing (well, mostly browsing!) and explored the cute downtown area. It’s definitely a must-visit if you’re local, especially if you love searching for the perfect home accent (I only walked away with a couple of items, but it’s because it took major self control!).

First things first before getting into today’s post. If you haven’t already, please consider making a donation to Everytown. Every amount helps–I think we all can agree that what happened on Wednesday was horrific and that taking action in any way we can is the best way to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

It feels silly to move right along into today’s post, but it also would’ve felt weird not to say anything on the blog–it’s sad that these events have become all too frequent in American society, and we can help make a difference.

I’ve been wanting to share some of my favorite spots around Dupont/Logan Circle since I’m coming up on five months living in this neighborhood! The time seriously has flown and am so glad we found this apartment and but also chose this location. The neighborhood is adorable and friendly, on a metro line, and most of all,  is an area where people want to come hang out (getting people over to Georgetown was a struggle at times–it’s a fun spot, but so many popular bars/restaurants/stores are over here!). So, here we go with a few must-sees in this neck of the woods (sorry in advance for the in the moment iPhone photos!):

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I love how many fun murals there are in the neighborhood! I’d been meaning to check out the Watermelon House forever and finally took a walk over there last month–so cute. I also love this fun Buddha wall my friend and I spotted this past fall–it’s right by the Whole Foods on P Street, if you’ve never noticed!

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I’m also a huge fan of the Dupont farmers market, mainly just for browsing on lazy weekend mornings. It’s open year-round which is super nice, and they always have tons of free samples! The pastries there are amazing–Carrie and I walked down and tried some the morning after we moved in and I’m still thinking about the one I had!

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Jeni’s is the new “it” spot for ice cream if you ask me! It opened up this past fall and had me hooked right away with its witty signs and delicious flavors. It’s a chain, so see if there’s one near you! Ice Cream Jubilee is also delicious, and Mr. Yogato is also the perfect little spot for a quick froyo run–it’s super no frills and only has a couple of flavors, but definitely order the tart with a bunch of toppings.

Miss Pixie’s has been a favorite of mine for a few years, but I barely made it into the store more than a couple of times a year until I moved into the neighborhood…now I easily go once a week–read more about it in this post. As for more shopping, you can’t go wrong with Salt and Sundry, West Elm, and Little Leaf all within a few minute radius of one another.

In terms of restaurants, Ted’s Bulletin, El Centro, Ghibellina, and Duke’s Grocery are all delicious…I also had brunch at Brick Lane a few weeks ago and went to happy hour at Agora, both of which are places I recommend (brunch at Agora this coming weekend is next on my list!).

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Minimalistic and Cozy

Happy Monday! But really, HAPPY MONDAY if you also have the day off today! This three-day weekend fell at exactly the right time, if you ask me. I’m still in the 90-day period at my new job where I’m not allowed to take days off, so federal holidays are as good as it gets!

In an effort to really make my lofted room feel all the more cozy (and to play up the architectural elements), I’ve been looking to Pinterest for inspo (as usual) and have found so many images that capture exactly what I’d love to recreate. This post is picture-heavy, but can you blame me?! Each of these spaces just looks so relaxing and comforting and the best part is that they’re free of STUFF (because truly, who can relax when there are piles of papers/magazines/clothes everywhere?

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That hanging lightbulb, though.

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More hanging lights.

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Love the pattern play and the gold sconce.

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Need a bench like this–love the rustic look!

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Ok, talk about rustic perfection. This space is goals!

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Swooning! Those lights and that bed frame.

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This spot is collected but calming.

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I also am obsessed with this Apartment Therapy tour that is basically the essence of all of the images above. The best part? This cute little space doubles as an Airbnb, so you can stay there and check it out for yourself! Also, if we aren’t Pinterest friends yet, add me right this way!

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Recipe for a Cozy Night In

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I alternate between needing a lot of friend/social time and a lot of time alone, so oftentimes, a cozy night in is just what I’m craving (preferably on a Friday night–by Saturday, I have a lot more energy and hate sitting still!).

Whether I’m watching a new show, immersed in a book (thrillers are perfect for nights in), or even just scrolling through Pinterest planning my millionth bedroom redo, I love just taking a few hours for myself (with red wine and maybe some dark chocolate, of course!).

A few musts for a night in:

-Cozy loungewear. I’m one of those SUPER weird people who will just stay in jeans/work clothes until it’s time to get ready for bed (I know…). I’ve never come running home ready to change into sweatpants (and I think it’s really just a lazy thing…I’m definitely not wearing my blazer at 8 pm for any particular reason otherwise, haha). Lately I’ve been making more of an effort to shower/put on comfy clothes earlier in the night so that I can still enjoy a few cozy hours of reading/watching tv in bed before it’s time to turn the lights out.

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-A drink. Wine, tea, hot chocolate, you name it. If you’re trying to avoid late night snacking, pour yourself a glass of something instead. Plus, if you’re sitting in bed, you won’t have to deal with crumbs and popcorn kernels getting everywhere (although let’s be honest, my bedspread has seen many a wine spill in its day).

-Cozy socks. I’m also one of those weird people who sleeps in socks no matter the season (trust me, I got a lot of comments about this one in college…). But cozy socks (like those fun, fluffy ones) make everything better (I’ve been known to sleep in them for days on end, even in warm weather months…).

-A blanket. I absolutely love my throw blankets and get a ton of use out of them (they’re more than purely decorative!). Head to HomeGoods/TJ Maxx to pick up a soft but inexpensive option.

-A candle. I’m trying not to run through my new Diptqyue so I’ve been alternating between a few different scents at night, and they really do make a difference!

-Minimal phone use. Stop scrolling through Instagram/Facebook/Bumble/work email/cat videos for a minute and put your phone aside while you relax. It’s hard to focus on calming down when constant distractions pop up.

Obviously my essentials aren’t anything groundbreaking, but they work for me! And now I know what I’ll be up to after work…

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A Few Things I’m Loving

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Happy Thursday! Who else is looking forward to a three-day weekend? My mom and I are thinking about possibly doing a day trip or something along those lines, destination TBD. I can’t believe it’s already mid-February, it feels like the month just started!

Short post today with a few random-ish things I’ve been loving lately:

Hart of Dixie. I mentioned this last Friday, but the obsession is still real. Before I started watching, I had been picturing it to be a Southern Grey’s Anatomy or something, but the medical component of the show is super minimal (making it a little more boring at times but it’s also kind of nice to not have to watch people being sliced in half every minute–I always joke that it took me two seasons of Grey’s to be able to eat while watching, haha). I’m also iffy on whether I love Rachel Bilson or not (I never watched the OC or anything, so I can’t really compare her in this show to any of her other roles), but I’m entertained for now (cheesy shows are addicting for a reason, right?).

This pillow. I found it on sale at Target the other week when I really needed a pick me up and it was just so soft that I couldn’t say no! It’s funny, though, because I keep walking into Target and browsing the home section and just not wanting to leave with anything (which is good for my wallet!). I love all of the new items but also kind of feel like I’d have to redecorate my entire room/apartment to make them work, if that makes sense. I don’t know.

Baking. Ok, by baking I really mean making, like, no-bake cookies because I have no talent in the kitchen whatsoever. However, I’ve been bookmarking a few recipes on Pinterest (mostly involving PB and chocolate) and made these over the weekend. I brought the extras in to work earlier this week and they were a hit (plus they’re SO easy to whip up).

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Hat walls. The other day I posted an Insta story asking what I should do on the wall above my desk, and while I got several great suggestions, my favorite was to do a hat wall! I love how the one above looks (and am also a fan of the one at the top of this post) and am hoping to recreate something similar if I can pull it off!

Half-Baked Harvest. Who else has been following Olympic gold medalist Red Gerard? Pretty incredible! If you didn’t know, Red’s sister Tiegan is a pretty famous food blogger/’grammer, and her recipes look amazing. Go follow her if you don’t already (pretty sure I was living under a rock until I read about her last week while stalking their family, haha. Talk about an accomplished group of siblings). Also, can I move into her barn?!

This apartment tour. I think Lauren and I could easily be BFFs…sorry, all, moving to NYC to watch SATC marathons in her cute living space. I don’t think I could ever personally deal with the lofted bed situation, though…walking up the spiral stairs to my room every day is complicated enough!

Oh, and one more thing, but because I’m nosy…this list shows how much people spend on engagement rings in each state.

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Houzz Tour Roundup

I should really just add a tab on the blog with all of these home tours so that you can check them out whenever! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably heard me mention the amazing ladies I’ve met via my Houzz freelancing–if you didn’t know, I started contributing to the publication last May and have had a blast! It’s been a wonderful way to meet fellow creatives in the DC area and profile their gorgeous homes while earning a little extra cash along the way. Writing about interior design and scoping out people’s Insta feeds? Basically what I do on here every day anyway! I work in conjunction with Ryan Hicks, the photographer who shot my home in January 2016, and he’s gathered some amazing shots of people’s apartments and homes.

Now that I’ve done several of these tours, I wanted to include them here so that you, too, can admire these awesome homes (these ladies also all have amazing blogs/Instagram feeds, so follow away!). I know I’ve gotten tons of design ideas from the places I’ve profiled!

In chronological order:

My Houzz: Budget-Friendly Style for a Downtown D.C. Studio eclectic-living-room

I had been following Liz on Instagram for awhile and was always obsessed with how calming and collected her home looked with it’s soft color palette and feminine details. Her apartment has a really interesting layout with the bedroom kind of coming off the hallway where you walk in, and she’s totally made it work so that the setup feels peaceful and cohesive–I’m totally inspired! View her Houzz tour here

My Houzz: Vibrant and Cozy in Columbia Heights transitional-bedroom

Libby is the queen of color and her apartment totally reflects this as well. Any Gray Malin fan will swoon over the prints Libby has in her bedroom, and I absolutely love how she incorporated family photos into her decor–such a sweet touch! Also, that light up sign! View her Houzz tour here

My Houzz: Ashlee eclectic-living-room

Ashlee and her boyfriend have such a fun, Southern-themed apartment complete with lots of personal and practical touches. They were the first couple that I profiled, and I love to see how men and women style their spaces together, especially since I’ve only ever lived alone/with other girls–it gives me hope that spaces can still look cute even when there’s a guy living there! 😉 Like Liz, they took a nontraditional layout and really made it work! View her Houzz tour here

My Houzz: A Sunlit 525-Square-Foot Studio in Downtown D.C. eclectic-living-room

I loved seeing what Jenn did to her space after having moved into her own studio apartment, which is complete with girly touches and tons of cute accessories. Her space is proof that a small space can still be glam and welcoming–how great is all of that sunlight, too?! View her Houzz tour here

My Houzz: Multipurpose Furniture in a Cozy Downtown D.C. Rental eclectic-living-room

Heather and Adam also decorated their apartment as a couple, and it was great getting to chat with them both during the shoot. I love admiring their amazing gallery wall in person and hearing about Heather’s fun furniture finds. They took a modern-looking unit and made it entirely their own with lots of sentimental touches and creative uses of space, like Heather’s desk area. View her Houzz tour here

My Houzz: DIY Remodelers Find a Surprise in Their 1903 Condo eclectic-living-room

Even with a new baby, Ariel‘s home still looks fantastic and she’s basically a girl after my own heart thanks to all of her thrifty finds. Her vintage bar cart is the coolest and looks great! I loved hearing about the DIYs she and her husband did, even if they’re way beyond my abilities! View her Houzz tour here

My Houzz: Home’s a Place Where She Can Get Creative eclectic-living-room

Julie is also the queen of DIY, and I think every girl wishes they had her office space! I also love her creative use of bar carts throughout the house and ALL of the Katie Kime. View her Houzz tour here

My Houzz: Modern, Eclectic Style in a Washington, D.C., Rental eclectic-living-room

Alysse‘s apartment is perfectly boho-chic with tons of greenery and midcentury modern pieces. She and her boyfriend also decorated together and did a really nice job combining their individual belongings with some new items and DIYs–I know I felt right at home when I walked in! View her Houzz tour here

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One Target Mirror, Endless Decor Possibilities

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When I purchased my gold Target mirror last year (which I actually sold before moving to my current apartment), I knew it was a gorgeous piece at a great price but had no idea it would become so popular! I loved it in my old bedroom but just couldn’t bring everything when I moved (slash I’m kind of a mirror addict and had to part with at least one after purchasing some new designs!). However, I’m almost considering buying it again at some point because it continues to be such a classic, stylish piece. The best part is that it can really be used in any room of the house. I kept mine over a small vanity table/nightstand next to my bed and it was super functional. Since it’s a large (and heavy!) piece, it does double duty–I could get a full body view of my outfit each morning but also use it while sitting at the table applying makeup.

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After awhile, I moved my vanity table across the room and set up a similar station with the mirror, some fun art, and basic beauty accessories. I love this shot that was included in my Apartment Therapy feature last spring!

Below are just some of my favorite ways that people have styled the mirror:

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