Design Tips to Update and Elevate the Living Room

living-room-design-tipsWe’re excited to share a living room update in collaboration with Raymour & Flanigan who provided furniture and decor. Opinions, as always, are my own. 

Like many families, we spend the majority of our time in the living room.  It’s where we decompress, host friends and family, and enjoy simply being together – cocooned between our walls.  It’s arguably the most important room in our home, and we’ve always felt connected to the ways in which our interior space impacts our everyday.  With a goal of continuing to tell our collective family story with heirloom pieces, meaningful artwork, and some new furniture and decor to compliment our Tudor style space – we found a way to easily upgrade the communal area in our home – just in time for the holidays, and the fresh start of a new year.  See below for our simple design tips to instantly update and elevate the living room.

living-room-home-design-tips-raymour-flaniganMAXIMIZE AVAILABLE SPACE

Selecting a specific couch or sectional was perhaps the biggest design decision in our living room update.  While I initially went with a plush beige sectional, the Soto 4-piece Modular Sectional Sofa with Soto Ottoman suited the available space so much better. As opposed to something oversized, the low back, tapered feet and raised design (that my robotic vacuum can work under!) deliver the sort of warmth and comfort that we were looking to maintain.


In addition to the dimensions and overall feel of the 5-piece sectional, we knew its functionality would work well for our lifestyle.  When guests are over, we just slide over the armless chair to cozy up in discussion and add the ottoman for those who want to catch a quick cat nap (hello husband!).  Being able to pull apart the pieces, with the option of latching it all together (while set up in sectional mode) made this key piece transform the space visually and functionally.

living-room-home-design-how-toUTILIZE ARTWORK AND PLANTS

Whether meaningful family heirlooms, new treasures or flea-market finds, we’re big believers in loving the art displayed on the walls every single day.  I adore having my husband’s work in clear view, and the way that our living room design allows treasured gifted pieces to take center stage. We also picked up this great Copper Flower Wall Decor to pull together the color palette while providing impact to an otherwise bare wall.  Also, every space can be perked up by natural elements like fresh plants – just don’t forget to water!

home-design-tips-statemen-pieceINCORPORATE STATEMENT PIECES

With a mirrored interior and lightly antiqued gold finish, this large Bevan Gold Oval Tray houses a rotation of decorative items, fresh flower, flameless candles and more, while making a statement in the overall space.  Go ahead and put curated stacks of books on display too, while mixing them up to keep your current reads interesting. 

raymour-flanigan-modular-sectional-sofaADD A RUG

Rugs always add an instant cozy vibe.  If we didn’t have a bold and colorful rug in the front area of the room, we would have selected a loud or patterned rug for this portion of the living room.  This Bella Sisal Hazelnut Area Rug complements the overall aesthetic while meshing well with the bright accents in the designated play area.


We found the texture-rich feel we craved in a few Bryant Cognac Shag Throw Pillows.
We’ll eventually add more color and patterns to the pillow collection, and adore the starting layer of texture in these great shag throw pillows.


Lastly, we’re fans of mixing different designs with a bit of modern, mid-century, eclectic and antique along the way. The new pieces from our partner, Raymour & Flanigan helped to instantly upgrade our well-loved living room to a favorite place where more cherished memories will be made.

Looking for more design features?  View the kids shared bedroom upgrade here.


A Holiday Tech Gift Mom Will Love

This post is sponsored by Intel. Product and compensation were provided.  Opinions, as always, are my own. 

Most mothers know what it’s like to have their belongings acquired by their children. Favorite pens disappear, heirlooms break, and one day your computer keyboard is found to be coated with an unknown sticky substance.  This holiday season, we’re all for gifting mom something that she really wants and something that she can rightfully claim as her own.  In my home, it’s due time to retire the antiquated desktop that takes forever to start up in the morning.  I continue to be amazed at the level of innovation in the popular 2-in-1 devices; specifically, the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 13.3″ 2-in-1 powered by Intel® Core i5™.


At first glance, the modern, slim and sleek gun-metal gray design packs serious wow-factor right out of the packaging. I love the perfectly square corners and wide-angle screen – and after thoroughly testing it out, there are so many features to be excited about.


For starters, it’s incredibly convenient to have a touch-screen tablet that doubles as a notebook – all in one device.  And the 360-degree hinge is perfect for mothers who wear many different hats.  With four different modes, I’m able to go from working at my desk in laptop mode, cooking with the family in tent mode, reading before bed in tablet mode, and enjoying movies in stand mode. And for the mom who frequently travels or is always on-the-go, the 13.3″ portable size fits nicely and comfortably into a bag, without the dreadful feeling of being weighed down.


Mulitmedia on this 2-in-1 is super fun.  From watching 4K video on multiple screens – to editing photos and creating family videos – the intuitive system even provides automatic bursts of speed when you need it, with Intel® Turbo Boost (yes turbo boost!) Technology.  My whole family was super impressed with the speakers ability to blast enough rich audio to fill our living room – and I continue to note how fast the device functions – even with many different tabs open all at once.


I surprisingly discovered one of my favorite features in a backlit keyboard.  As a work from home mother, I often plow through deadlines late at night or enjoy catching up on social media.  The functional design helps with accuracy in typing, especially during those particularly tired moments.


Learn more about the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 13.3″ 2-in-1 powered by Intel® Core i5™  – and the great ways it will fit into any moms lifestyle.  She’ll be thrilled to receive one this holiday season – just please don’t ask her to share!

Wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday.


Fighting Stains in a Vibrant Life with Kids

This post was sponsored by the Maker of OxiClean™ through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about their White Revive™ Laundry Stain Remover, all opinions are my own.

Within our home, the color white always feels like the right design choice. It’s cool and calm presence can convey a sense of openness and peace.  It matches with nearly everything, highlighting bursts of creativity and pops of unusual color in our space.  And white continues to be the perfect, timeless fashion choice of summer.


I adore my white flowy dresses, and the look and feel of a fluffy bed with crisp white sheets. And perhaps I treasure the ways in which the family linens, vintage pillowcases, and handmade pieces grow in meaning and significance (even more) as the years pass by.

Some may believe that I’ve been overly ambitious in insisting on various shades of white decor over the years.  There was the sectional with acquired stains (that practically told stories) until we tossed it goodbye.  Black Play-Doh, red wine, toddler exploding-art, and the list goes on.  I think that my children have figured out ways to create stains with objects unimagined to do so.

However, all of the unexpected messes that go hand-in-hand with truly living a vibrant life with kids have managed to make me quite the stain removal expert.  My secret?  OxiClean™ White Revive Laundry Stain Remover.


Whether I’m using it to spot-treat a tough stain (like the ink seen below on my daughter’s lovely heirloom-quality dress!); simply brighten and revive articles in the washing machine – or go for the  suggested pre-soaking technique; OxiClean™ in my arsenal makes everything look so much better.


It’s managed to lift iced coffee stains off of my favorite summer whites, and vanish evidence of ice cream on the kiddos’ clothing – true marks of spontaneous summer days as a kid. It allows me to indulge in my penchant for white and bright, while getting full use of our summer wardrobes and go-to entertaining pieces.


Most importantly, OxiClean™ White Revive gives me the reassurance to not think twice about letting my kids focus on the important work inherent in childhood play – wrought with wild and free mess making.


How a Robotic Vacuum Elevated My Cleaning Game and My Life


I always dreamed of a Jetson’s household or at least a more efficient way of getting tedious tasks done.

And after a few weeks of owning a multifunctional robotic cleaner that intuitively finds “her” way around my home with the ability to simultaneously vacuum, sweep, UV sterilize, mop and filter the air all at once; I can wholeheartedly say that she vastly improved my cleaning game  – and my life.

Meet bObisweep’s, bObi Pet. My new best friend (that happens to have the same name as my husband).


With a simple push of her touchscreen button or a click of the remote control, bObi knows how to find her way across our floors (and navigate through furniture, rugs and more) to snatch up dirt and dust, leaving every nook and cranny spotlessly shining.  With a built-in UV light, she even sterilizes everything automatically- and her attachable mop finishes the job with an impressive polish to boot.  Then she automatically plugs into her charging station (which she know how to find unassisted).  The best part? All of this happens while I’M SITTING AT MY DESK, working, showering, or doing something other than spending my time cleaning.


I haven’t yet let the kids in on the fact that our bObi Pet came with a bObi blOck which creates an invisible boundary line that bObi won’t cross.  Why? I’ve been having too much fun yelling “Pick up your LEGOS or bObi will eat them!”.


We use her “waffle” mode frequently to attack small fresh spills – in addition to “Go!” mode to clean the whole home.

At a retail price of $849.00, a bObi Pet is an investment – but also a massive investment in freeing up significant amounts of time – to work, and be present with my family – by tackling meticulous chores for me.  My home has never been cleaner.

Check out our bObi Pet in action below, pick up a bObsweep of your own, and be sure to keep up with this cutting edge technology on Twitter and Instagram – and under the hashtag #bobsweep.

Thank you, bObi!

Consideration provided by bObisweep.


Bunking Up: a Kids’ Shared Bedroom Design

kids-shared-bedroom-bunkbeds-RaymourFlaniganI have partnered with Raymour & Flanigan and received products in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Even though the kids are getting bigger, they are very much still adamant about room-sharing (and phew! because right now they don’t have a choice.). It’s all they’ve ever known and happens to be the norm among friends living in smallish spaces here in New York City. These two certainly squabble, but I do think that sharing a room has fostered a unique closeness, a penchant for creative play, and a desire to seek new discoveries and adventures together.

With a new school year approaching, we were determined to make their shared bedroom as functional as possible with a space saving and equitable design.  The room was previously overrun by big sister and had a feminine pull despite adding personalized touches for the little guy.  The kids have been keen on getting bunk beds for a while now, and we’re so pleased with the Jordan Bunk Beds we ultimately decided on from Raymour & Flanigan.


With two built-in storage drawers (trundle or open options are available too), both kids quickly stuffed their prized possessions into their designated drawers (coined their, “collections”).  Although I envisioned tucking clothing options for the school week into the bunk bed drawers, their “collections” became the solution for housing those special (and random) nick-knacks in a centralized location.


The additional single cubby stores their current reads and library books and other ever-changing methodically placed toys that make me appreciate my children’s inherent creativity; the sort of evidence of living a vibrant life with kids.


After falling in love with an online exclusive item (a beautiful rug!) I almost placed the entire order online, but I’m glad we made our way into a Raymour & Flanigan showroom.  It stirred up incredible kiddo excitement and in hindsight, I had a lot to learn.  Who knew that bunk beds took smaller box springs than stand alone beds?  And the top bunk needed a thinner mattress to prevent the top bunker from going overboard. Raymour & Flanigan has it all, and one of the best parts is that they deliver it AND SET IT ALL UP FOR YOU!


The spacious Glistening Night’s Area Rug is cozy and inviting and super soft on bare feet, and definitely adds warmth to the space.


In addition to painting the walls a fresh coat of white, and undergoing massive purges throughout the summer, I learned that I had to let go of a few of my design ideas in order to create a functional space in a small home.  We love an eclectic mix of special family pieces in our furniture, and I had reservations about removing an ornate vintage chandelier from the kids’ room that didn’t make sense with bunk beds (or a boy/girl shared space).  Adding my father’s family rocking chair to the corner and leaving my husband’s grandmother’s large mirror in the room (previously sprayed white) fulfilled the meaning that I was craving in the children’s room, reminding us of loved ones no longer with us.


The room continues to feel incredibly bright and light and positive, and easy to clean up and organize.  And although we were tempted to add one of Raymour & Flanigan’s options for matching dressers or night stands – the open space is utilized so well. Since changing things up, we’ve found the kids naturally separating when needing a break from each other, with one in the playroom in the front of our home – and the other carrying about, on their own in the bedroom.


Organizationally set to approach a new school year, I can’t believe it took me this long to make much-needed changes to the children’s bedroom.  Even just a few pieces can create a massive impact with lasting effects on the entire family.  We’re all so happy with the outcome and motivated to continue to make smart design changes throughout our home.


On Comfort Zones and Filming a Commercial With The Home Depot

Consideration provided by The Home Depot via Mode Media.

There’s something to be said about stepping out of one’s comfort zone. In what almost feels like a former life, challenge was a constant. As a springboard diver; a new undergrad who took a vacation to Hawaii and didn’t get on that plane back home; a twenty-something year old who tried to conquer surfing (despite never being good at it) – the list goes on.  Motherhood, of course, presents a new set of mind-blowing challenges, with pieces of your heart literally running around outside of your body – that said, perhaps caution set in with the passing of years.  And so I’ve been trying to examine and challenge the ways in which I push myself both personally and professionally – and when an opportunity to film a commercial with The Home Depot came my way, I hung up my reservations and gave it a go.


The funny thing is that as a builders’ wife I spend more time at our local Home Depot than I suppose I’d like to.  I tend to discuss all brand opportunities with my husband when determining if they resonate as a good fit, and he seriously tried to sell their Pergo Outlast+ flooring to me!  No persuasion needed, as the idea of leaving a spill for up to twenty four hours (without visible liquid damage) makes me want these sort of floors in my home. And just like my role in the commercial, I’m often the one to blame for the spills. Whoopsy Daisy!

Home-Depot-Pergo-Outlast-Floors Commerical-Filming

It’s definitely a trip to see my head pop up in the ads in my sidebar, and I’ve greatly appreciated the support among other writers who reached out to let me know that the commercial has been circulating in their website ads.  Although I’m far from Emmy material – I’m glad that I joined in this cool experience and had a look at the inner workings of production and all that goes into the filming process. It’s a ton! Thanks to team MODE and Home Depot for being so kind and supportive. Catch the full video below!

Thank you for your continued support of sponsored material on Marino Bambinos.