Decorating with your other halfHi, friends! Today I'm continuing my Home Decor 101 series with a reader question that really got me thinking. 

@jessisrad36 asked, "I would LOVE to see a post about seamlessly mixing decor styles with your significant other... I just bought a house with my boyfriend and let's just say we may have differing opinions about interior design. I'd love to hear about your experience!" 

I want to say upfront that this topic isn't just for couples. It could apply to roommates, large families or really anyone living in a home together. So if it seems like I am only discussing couples without kiddos, it's because that's what kind of household I live in–so please forgive me, k? Maybe you have a really opinionated eight-year-old. I get that. 

Decorating with my other halfSo first, a little back story about my experiences decorating with my husband, Jeremy. This summer we started renovating and decorating our third house we've lived in together. He's the kind of dude who selectively cares about decorating. I can make ten big choices in a row and he will be happy with all of them, but on the eleventh choice, he will suddenly have a VERY strong opinion, and it usually feels like it came out of nowhere. He keeps me on my toes.

Working togetherHe has very good taste, and I love that about him. But his range of what he likes is much, much, much smaller than mine. It's exactly like our taste in clothes actually. He would be happy to wear a plaid shirt from J.Crew every day for the rest of his life. To mix it up, he wears gingham. Me, no way. I love J.Crew, but I also love about 1,000 other stores and styles and I want to mix it up constantly. So we're different.


So, let's dive in! Here are my thoughts on navigating the waters of co-decorating with your partner or roommate. 

1. Choosing a theme together. 

Choosing a general style we both love, and creating a mood board is the single best thing we have done to simplify our process and nurture a shared vision. Our process started by talking about places we've traveled to, hotels and cafes that left an impression on us. Then we went through my overstuffed private pin board that I'd created. I asked Jeremy to pick out all the things that stood out to him (and I took notes). 

All you need are a few inspiration images you both love, and a place you've both been to use as a reference for the vibe you are going for! Once you have that, it's MUCH EASIER to choose colors you both love, wood stains, metals for hardware and fixtures and trends you feel you'd like to embrace or skip.

Just by having a few conversations and going through some images, we picked a theme. It wasn't hard. It honestly came really naturally. Now when we're shopping for a countertop, a floor tile or a new couch, we have a unified vision to start from. It has really simplified the process for us! 

2. Mixing two styles. 

It's important to represent each member of your family/household in the decor. The best way to do this is to imagine how the house would look if each person had it 100% in their style, then mix those different elements together. 

For us, it's a mixture of color (me) and some rustic elements (him). Our styles are good on their own, but even better together. 

The good news is that mixing styles always makes a space more interesting! So don't be afraid to really incorporate different perspectives, even if you feel like complete opposites. 

3. Mastering give + take

Decorating a house is a personal thing. Especially when you first move in. Two people might be envisioning the "perfect space" very differently.

It's important to really listen to your partner, ask questions and try to get inside their head. If you are genuinely trying to understand their vision, then you're already on the right track! 

It sucks, but you're not always going to agree on every little detail. One of you loves penny tile, one of you hates it. One of you thinks wallpaper should be a priority in the budget, but the other would rather put that money toward a new sofa. This is real life. 

Learn to be a master of compromise and always keep an open mind! In our new space we have already shifted our priorities countless times. And I'm not going to lie–it's overwhelming sometimes. The thing that has made us rock solid is compromise. I am putting Jeremy's studio at a very high priority in our budget (and that renovation is real spensive!). He knows that and appreciates that, and in return, he's been a real sweetheart about all the brass I want to do (all about that brass, you guys!). #giveandtake #compromise #soulmates yep! 

J + E OK–so, my favorite part! Your turn! Please tell me all your stories about decorating with your partner-in-crime, whether it be a roomie, a husband or a whole family! I am super excited to hear your tips. xx- Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe)         I don't know exactly how old I was when I had a fruit pizza for the first time, but I can remember pretty clearly thinking something along the lines of, "Where has this been all my life!?" I've usually eaten fruit pizzas that have sliced fruit on top of a cream cheese layer with a sugar cookie crust underneath. And while I'm certainly a fan of the original, I thought it would be fun to stay with a similar flavor profile, but manipulate the ingredients a bit so it actually looked more like a pizza once it was done. What can I say? I'm a sucker for novelty food...

Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe)Fruit Pizza

16 oz of refrigerated sugar cookie dough (pre-made or you can use your own recipe)
8 oz strawberry cream cheese spread
coconut flakes
strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, or whatever fruit you want
fresh mint

First, make your crust! Take your refrigerated cookie dough and roll out a large cookie on a greased baking sheet that is 1/4-1/2" thick. I found it easiest to roll out the dough on the baking sheet directly with a piece of wax paper on top and then use a pizza cutter to trim off the jagged edges. Bake until your cookie edges just start to turn golden brown (you want the cookie to be a little underdone so it has a chewy texture). It took about 17 minutes for mine to start to turn golden.

Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe) Let the cookie completely cool, and then ice the cookie with the strawberry cream cheese, leaving the last inch of the edge plain so it looks more like a pizza crust. If you want a brighter red spread to mimic the pizza sauce, you can stir in a dash of food coloring first.

Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe)   Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe)   Sprinkle your coconut topping on top of the cream cheese. For more of a "baked cheese" color, you can toast some of the coconut in a dry pan first until it starts to turn golden brown.

Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe)    Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe)    Add your cut fruit to mimic your pizza toppings (I used strawberries, pineapple and kiwi), and finish off with some whole or chopped mint leaves.

Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe)       Adorable fruit pizza! (click through for recipe)          How cute is that? This is a great idea for a kid's party, but who am I kidding? Most full-grown adults I know would love it as well! Unless you roll out your dough way too thin, you should be able to cut slices and pick them up to eat like real pizza pieces. For people like me that are pizza crazy to begin with, this is too adorable to pass up, but it's an added bonus that it also tastes great too. Make time for a slice of this pizza soon! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Kitchen before and afterKitchen         Kitchen sinkWe're excited to show you guys the final look of our Habitat for Humanity project house kitchen. This is probably the space that transformed the most (tied with the bathroom). I am fairly partial to kitchens, as you can probably guess. But even if you don't love cooking, like me, I do think a lot of activity still tends to happen in the kitchen—so it's an important space!

When we purchased this house, the kitchen had old, damaged linoleum floors with a small strip of carpet near the sink area. The dark wood cabinets where in good shape, but tended to make the space feel small, dark and somewhat cavelike (not my favorite atmosphere for preparing food). But the main issue was the countertops. They were old laminate with major cracks and missing pieces around the edges. This is not ideal for a working kitchen because water or food particles could easily seep into the damaged counters causing bad odors, bacteria growth and decay on the wood underneath. So we knew this was an issue that needed some updates. 

Kitchen      Kitchen          Kitchen        Kitchen    Kitchen   KitchenFor the countertops, we removed the old ones and replaced them with new wood countertops that we skim coated with concrete. This is a super inexpensive (for countertops, anyway) update that anyone, with any DIY skill level could complete. You can read how to complete that type of project here.

We also added a fresh coat of white paint to the cabinets and walls. We painted the back door (that leads to the laundry room) a soft mint color. We had a white subway tile backsplash added along with a new sink and faucet. I installed and painted the kitchen pegboard (similar project here) for extra pots and pans storage. And we also purchased Energy Star rated appliances as well. 

Kitchen Lots of little changes and a few big ones made this space feel so much brighter, cleaner and a lot more functional for the family that will one day move in here. We're SO happy with how the kitchen turned out in this house! Thanks for letting us share. xo. Emma, Elsie, and the ABM team.

Credits// Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. Rug/Urban Outfitters and Pendant lights/IKEA.

A Beautiful Mess FeltHey, friends! You already know we're big fans of sewing with felt, right? Well, today we're excited to share that we're now selling high quality 100% Merino wool felt in our shop (see the bundle here and for individual colors, scroll here). The colors are super pretty and vibrant. 

A Beautiful Mess Felt  To celebrate, I thought I'd put together a quick round up of some of our favorite felt projects! We're already brainstorming some new projects using our new felt colors as well. 

Here are a few past favorites–

A Beautiful MessGeometric Wool Felt Pillows 

A Beautiful Mess A Beautiful Mess DIY Plantable Felt Garden Box

A Beautiful Mess   Simple and Sweet Donut Pillow

A Beautiful Mess     Junk Food Cat Toys

What felt projects do you have planned? Be sure to share your creations on Instagram with #mybeautifulmess for a chance to be featured! 

ABM FeltShop our new felt here. xx. Elsie 

Nashville, Tennessee A Travel Guide via Nashville—my new city! I am so excited to share a few of my favorite spots with you today. 

I labeled this post volume one because I know I'll have to do multiple guides as we get to know Nashville and try more places. Our list of places we've never even been is still VERY long, and then there are also lots of places that we've been and loved but want to go back to and snap a few photos for you! 

For this first guide I am rounding up all the places I've recommended in the past on various blog posts as well as sharing some new spots that we tried this past month!

One thing we've been amazed by on our recent trips to Nashville is how friendly the city is. It's seriously the friendliest city in the US, in my humble opinion. If you're planning a trip, be sure to add a bunch of these spots to your list! 

MarcheMarcheMarcheMarché We've raved about this spot for a long time. It was one of Emma and Trey's first date spots (can I get a group "awwwwwwe!"), and Jeremy and I recently made it our "special spot" when we had breakfast there the morning of our house closing. 

The menu is constantly changing. Emma loves the croissant french toast and I love the fruit tartine. I've also had a lot of really fresh meals there (I call em "breakfast salad") comprised of mostly veggies. It's one of our go-tos. As with most brunch spots in Nashville, it's very busy on the weekends, but during the weekdays (when we usually visit) it's super chill. 

Loveless Cafe Loveless CafeLoveless Cafe There's a reason why Loveless is on every Nashville list ever. It's SO good. They're famous for their fluffy biscuits (which I have no photo of—what's wrong with me??), but we love a lot of other things there as well. It's like the best little diner ever. I'm always looking for an excuse to go. 

It's not really IN Nashville, so it'll probably be a bit of a drive, but don't worry—it's more than worth it! 

Barista Parlor Barista Parlor Barista Parlor We love this spot. It's beautiful and the menu is fun. We sometimes get these sausage biscuits with peach jam—so good. You'll like it. Everyone likes it.

Barista Parlor My not-so-secret favorite thing about Barista Parlor is their insane chocolate selection. I can geek out on that all day. It's SO pretty. 

Biscuit LoveBiscuit Love Biscuit Love! OMG, you guys. The biscuit donuts (pictured above) are on another planet. It's one of those foods you wish you could un-know (yeah, that good).'s the place that has this awesome sign you're always seeing on Instagram—

Biscuit Love NashvillePhoto via Biscuit Love

Pinewood SocialPinewood SocialPinewood SocialPinewood Social Around the time they first opened was when we started making frequent trips to Nashville. Pinewood has always been pretty high up on our list. I usually order a kale caesar salad and we usually order fried broccoli. They are basically always open (brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks, etc.), and I heard they have a pool now (on our list of things to do SOON!). It's a really great space, awesome copper bar, and the bowling alley in the back is pretty cute too. 

Added it to your list yet? Go ahead. :) 

Little Octopus       Little Octopus       Little Octopus       Little Octopus       (whatta cutie) 

Little Octopus  Little Octopus  Little Octopus  Little Octopus A new one for us! Last month when Jeremy was in Nashville without me he tried Little Octopus and had a pretty epic experience. So this last week we only had time for one special date together and we went straight there. It is super good, really cute and (per usual) everyone is incredibly friendly. It's mostly small plates (a style of serving we LOVE) but omg—that freaking burger. Definitely my favorite Nashville burger so far. Oh...and great cocktails too. 

The TreehouseThe Treehouse Love love love! I wish I had more pics. We didn't get to sit in the actual "treehouse" this time (website says you can only reserve it if you have 6 or more people), so hopefully we can do that next time because it looks really fun. Anyway! We had epic cocktails, tried red wine and coke for the first time, had awesome fried rice and just loved the whole experience. I definitely want to go back with Jeremy soon! The menu changes daily. 

AMOT       A Matter Of TasteAMOTA Matter Of Taste The best gluten-free menu I've ever seen. It's definitely a place that anyone can enjoy, though. We've been a few times and every single thing we've ordered has been awesome from burgers to pizza to salads and desserts. Mega thumbs up! 

Local Taco    Local Taco    Local Taco    Local Taco    Local Taco    The Local Taco There are a whole bunch of locations, but these pics are from the East Nashville one. I actually haven't even ordered a taco there because this place has my favorite kale salad ever (!!!), so I always get that. Jeremy has ordered a bunch of tacos, though, and his favorite is The Local BBQ. We also love this drink called Rosa Botanica (pictured above) which is made with vodka, St-Germain and grapefruit juice. Plus, it's decorated really cute and open (I LOVE patios). ps—order the green salsa. 

Mas TacosMas Tacos Por Favor Since we're already on the subject of tacos...super legit and delicious food. Best tortilla soup I've ever had! 

Burger UpBurger Up This spot is always on a lot of lists, and for good reason! I actually haven't been there very recently, but we've been a few times and ordered both burgers and salads (oh and drinks!) that were SUPER good. Plus, just for the record, fried pickle chips are the right way to do it. :) Yes, please. 

PharmacyPharmacyPharmacyPharmacyThe Pharmacy is SO CUTE. I know they have great burgers and yummy homemade sodas, but honestly—the reason I love going there is because the outdoor seating is so cute. I am planning my next trip when the fall weather sets in because that sounds just perfect! Order a homemade soda for sure. 

The Patterson HouseThe Patterson House Honestly—one of the best bars I've been to in my life. The menu is so fun and creative. It was a total treat and I cannot wait to go back! It was over a year ago now, so I can't remember anything we ordered, but you can't go wrong. Oh, and get there early because it is VERY popular. Photo via Visit Music City.

More fun spots (I'll try to get photos for the next guide!): Jeni's (Brown Butter Almond Brittle 4Ever!), Crema (my personal favorite coffee shop!), I Dream Of Weenie (can't wait to try weenie brunch!), Two Ten Jack (best ramen and cocktails). 

And maybe a couple of non-foodie spots? 

White's Merchantile White's MerchantileWhite's Mercantile Love this shop! It is beautifully curated. I want to move in! I always buy a few gifts every time we visit, a bunch of greeting cards and at least one journal. Love it! 

Old Made GoodOld Made Good We found this place randomly (on Gallatin) because our co-worker, Jacki, wanted to take a photo with their OMG sign. We ended up going in and it was so cute. A quirky, curated vintage/flea market with some handmade items and a glitter floor (I repeat—the floor is made of gold glitter). Good fun! 

OK, it's your turn!! I am still a total rookie to Nashville and I need your guidance! What should we try next? What are your favorite hidden gems in Nashville (and the nearby surrounding areas)? Jeremy and I (and Laura and Todd too) will add your recommendations to our mile-long lists! Oh, and if you're a Nashville local, I hope we did you proud. xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions


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