Author Archives: Nicole Balch

About Nicole Balch

Designer Nicole Balch transforms the so-so into the lovely. As she begins decorating her new home, a Victorian painted lady, she invites readers of her blog, Making it Lovely to follow along, offer advice, and gain inspiration from her creative process. Making it Lovely was named one of the 50 World’s Best Design Blogs by the London Times Online, and Nicole’s work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune Magazine, Time Out Chicago, ReadyMade, Everyday with Rachael Ray, CS Interiors, and other publications.

Get The Look: Bedroom with a Mural Wall

Image: Inside Out, via Desire to Inspire. Photographed by Phu Tang and styled by Jane Frosh

The wallpaper in the bedroom above steals the show. The room looks amazing, even managing to look good with a milk crate standing in for a bedside table! If you’re drawn to the look, you can use the items below to recreate something similar for your own home. (Though if it were me, I might skip the crate.)

Get The Look: Bedroom with a Mural Wall

Images: (1) Ferm Living (2) Ferm Living (3) Barn Light Electric (4) The Container Store (5) Chairish (6) Ballard Designs (7) Anthropologie

1. To pull off the look, you’ll need a pillow in a faded graphic pattern like this one.
2. Or this one. Better yet, both.
3. A single caged light, to hang off to the side of the bed. Industrial cool.
4. There are reviews for this on the site, and my favorite is this: “Cons: they are milk crates.”
5. I’m not the only one that gets the Bob Dylan song in my head every time I see/read/hear a reference to a brass bed, right? Please say no. (Also, this is a rather nice vintage brass bed.)
6. Striped lampshades are a good way to bring in more pattern without distracting from an already busy backdrop.
7. This mural is perfection, and is priced much more affordably than similar wallpaper designs out there.

What’s your favorite part of this look? Will it be that milk crate for anyone?

Get The Look: Miriam Alia’s Pink Bedroom

Image: Nuevo Estilo

Miriam Alia’s pink bedroom is more fit for a Bond girl than a princess. Arguably the sweetest color, pink goes glam with a mix of texture, line, and curve. Want to get the look? Start with a white upholstered bed, white walls and white bedding and then layer in the items below.

Get The Look: Miriam Alia's Pink Bedroom

Images: (1) Chairish (2) by Getty Images (3) Anthropologie (4) Wayfair (5) Pottery Barn (6) DWR (7) RugsUSA

1. A mid-century modern chandelier commands attention smack dab in the middle of the room.
2. Bond. James Bond. I mean, if you can’t get him in your bed, I suppose above will do.
3. More mid-century lighting, this time in a brand new version with a decidedly retro feel.
4. Pink (faux) fur is just plain fun.
5. A cozy fur blanket (faux again) adds texture and warmth to the bed.
6. Arne Jacobsen’s Swan Chair is a design classic.
7. The pink rug in the bedroom above looks like a wall-to-wall installation, but you can get the look with a large area rug instead.

What’s your favorite part of this look?

Get the Look: A Peter Dunham Living Room

Image: Luxe Interiors + Design, via Dering Hall

Designer Peter Dunham created the inviting room above. The masculine lines of the sofa against the more feminine wallpaper is especially appealing, and the room looks comfortable and chic at the same time. If you’d like to achieve a similar look in your home, you can do so with the items below.

Peter Dunham Living Room

Images: (1) House of Hackney (2) Room & Board (3) 1-800-flowers (4) Room & Board(5) West Elm (6) Lulu & Georgia (7) Lulu & Georgia (8) Serena & Lily (9) Pottery Barn

1. Floral wallpaper in a blue and white palette is classic (and so very pretty).
2. Go bold with the color of the sofa for big impact! Isn’t that green fantastic?
3. An orchid on the table is a must. May you have better luck getting yours to reflower than I ever have.
4. A chair with exposed wooden arms in a simple, mid-century style keeps the look from getting too formal or fussy.
5. Choose a tall lamp with an organic feel to the base.
6. A bit of shine in the coffee table is glam, and glass keeps the piece from being too visually heavy.
7. A natural, neutral rug anchors the space.
8. The soft blue in this pillow plays nicely off of the wallpaper.
9. A little unexpected color and pattern is a nice thing to have in a throw pillow, wouldn’t you agree?

What’s your favorite part of the look?

Beautiful Bar Carts

Images: Target

There’s something so chic about serving a cocktail from a gorgeous bar cart. Even if you’re not much of a drinker, a bar cart could be an excellent addition to your home. Use one as a coffee/tea/cocoa station, or think outside of the beverage realm and repurpose a cart for something else entirely. Below are some of the best options out there!

Silver and Gold

Beautiful Bar Carts

Images: (1) Ballard Designs (2) Target (3) Wisteria (4) Crate & Barrel (5) Pottery Barn (6) CB2 (7) Horchow (8) Home Decorators Collection

Silver, gold, nickel, chrome, and brass; gilded bar carts bring glamor to a room.

Natural Materials

Beautiful Bar Carts

Images: (9) Serena & Lily (10) Ballard Designs (11) Ballard Designs (12) Serena & Lily

Wicker, rattan, and bamboo can lend a more laid back vibe. Perfect for a beach house, but at home in most any casual space.


Beautiful Bar Carts

Images: (13) Clayton Gray Home (14) Restoration Hardware (15) World Market (16)West Elm (17) CB2 (18) Restoration Hardware

These industrial-inspired bar carts have a more masculine look that would still fit in with a variety of home decor styles. Can’t you just picture curling up in a worn leather club chair after fixing up a drink from one of them?

Which of the above bar carts would you want to add to your home?

Stylish Small Storage

Image: Serena & Lily

We all have odds and ends around the house that need storing, so why not do it stylishly? There are so many beautiful baskets, bins, and boxes out there to choose from, and below are some of the best options.

Stylish Small Storage

Images: (1) The Land of Nod (2) Serena & Lily (3) Anthropologie (4) Serena & Lily (5)The Container Store (6) Leif (7) IKEA (8) The Land of Nod (9) IKEA (10) Schoolhouse Electric (11) Serena & Lily

1. Hang these little iron drawers on the wall, or stack them on a desk or bookshelf.

2. These rolling carts look like a fantastic flea market find.

3. A charmingly rustic set of five. I imagine them in a bathroom, storing extra towels and necessities.

4. Such a fantastic shape!

5. Stripes make everything better, right?

6. The black basket is super chic, and the hot pink one is a brilliant shot of color.

7. Three stacking compartments in a cheery yellow hue would be great for holding jewelry, or other small items.

8. Paper suitcases are always such a fun storage option for toys and trinkets.

9. There are four sizes and four coordinating colors and patterns of these surprisingly sturdy cardboard boxes.

10. The little one is cute, and the larger size would make a great laundry basket.

11. Casual but structured, with a lovely two-tone design.

Which is your favorite stylish storage solution?

Vintage Stove Style

Image: This Old House, Photo by Jack Thompson

When dreaming about remodeling a kitchen, most people imagine that everything would be new. We might picture a gorgeous new counter on top of brand new cabinets, a faucet as beautiful as it is functional, and gleaming state-of-the-art appliances. Some though, dream of something a little different: a vintage stove. Whether incorporated into an existing kitchen or worked into a newly designed space, vintage stoves bring added character!

The white vintage stove above is also featured below, this time in a fun yellow.

Vintage Stove Style

Image: Country Living, Design: Keller + Keller

So fantastic, right? Here’s another great example, showcasing a much sought after O’Keefe & Merritt stove.

Vintage Stove Style

Image: Remodelista, Design: Antonio Martins

Vintage models in their original or restored state can be found readily online or at flea markets. They often come in lovely colors that could anchor an entire scheme, like this amazing green stove.

Vintage Stove Style

Image: Design Milk, The Kameon Otsea Residence, Design: Nicholas/Budd Architects

While lacking in the modern amenities that a new stove can offer, oftentimes these vintage options are still going strong and can be a joy to cook on. Plus the charm they bring to a home is hard to beat!

Would you ever consider a vintage stove for your home?


Hello, Fall

Image: West Elm

There’s a chill in the air and depending on where you live, autumn leaves are displaying fantastic golds, reds, and oranges. Fall is here and in full effect! Why not celebrate the season with a few changes to the inside of your home to reflect the changing outside? The vases above would complement autumn’s colors perfectly, as would any of the items below.

Hello, Fall

Images: (1) Wisteria (2) Wisteria (3) Hygge & West (4) Horchow (5) Anthropologie (6) Target (7) Lulu & Georgia

  1. Large botanical prints are always a nice way to bring in greenery that will never wilt or need watering!

  2. Well if you have one, you may as well go for the set.

  3. Florals in a decidedly autumnal palette are lovely.

  4. Bordeaux leather is on trend for this season, but this leather pillow comes in other colors as well.

  5. Add a little detail to your curtain rods.

  6. The perfect little bench to tuck away in a corner or at the end of a bed.

  7. Cozy up with a warm-hued throw! The colorful fringe adds a bit of fun, too.

Hello, Fall

Images: (1) Crate & Barrel (2) Crate & Barrel (3) Horchow (4) Wisteria (5) Pottery Barn (6) Crate & Barrel (7) Pottery Barn

  1. A vibrant orange pillow could be just the pick-me-up your living room needs.

  2. Another pillow to bring in fall, in a more subtle way.

  3. Warm metals continue to be popular. Stagger these large circles to bring some interest to your walls.

  4. Candlelight is always appealing, and these are a fresh take on the geometric look that has been popular for some time now.

  5. As flowers fade and choices at the florist dwindle, bring in a bit of life with a live plant. Ferns are easy to care for and can tolerate low light.

  6. A lovely tweedy textured pillow with a bit of orange in it.

  7. Need something new underfoot? Jute is hard-wearing and the pattern in this one is interesting without being overly loud.

How are you welcoming the change of seasons into your home?

3 Styles to Pair With Caesarstone’s Calacatta Nuvo

Image: Crate & Barrel 

Calacatta Nuvo is Caesarstone’s latest offering, bringing you the beauty of marble in an easier to care for material. The look has been popular for years now, but it is a timeless addition to a kitchen and it pairs well with a wide range of finishes and styles. Here are a few options to consider!

Modern Meets Rustic

3 Styles to Pair With Caesarstone’s Calacatta NuvoImage: Caesarstone 

3 Styles to Pair With Caesarstone’s Calacatta Nuvo

Images: (1) LEIF (2) LEIF (3) Heath Ceramics (4) Target (5) Crate & Barrel

The polish of a modern kitchen benefits from the rough quality of a few rustic pieces.

Colorful Accents

3 Styles to Pair With Caesarstone’s Calacatta NuvoImage: Caesarstone


3 Styles to Pair With Caesarstone’s Calacatta NuvoImages: (1) Crate & Barrel (2) Fireclay Tile (3) LEIF (4) IKEA (5) Heath Ceramics

The backdrop may be classic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with the accessories! Colorful accents are an easy way to introduce your favorite palette and inject a bit of levity and charm.

Sleek Black

3 Styles to Pair With Caesarstone’s Calacatta NuvoImage: Caesarstone


3 Styles to Pair With Caesarstone’s Calacatta Nuvo

Images: (1) LEIF (2) Williams-Sonoma (3) West Elm (4) CB2 (5) IKEA

The nearly white look of Calacatta Nuvo is sharply contrasted against black and holds a nice graphic appeal.

Which design direction is your favorite?

Constance and Laurent’s Office

Image: Milk Magazine, photography by Karel Balas

The office of Parisian couple Constance and Laurent is simple and luxe at the same time. The furniture’s clean lines and the architecture’s simplicity are complemented by a plush Moroccan rug, classic window treatments, and a bit of softness on the seat, courtesy of a sheepskin. You can create a similar look in your home with the items below.

Constance and Laurent’s Office

Images: (1) Restoration Hardware (2) West Elm (3) Urban Outfitters (4) Schoolhouse Electric (5) CB2 (6) IKEA (7) West Elm

  1. Curtains in a subdued gray color with just the right texture are quietly luxurious.

  2. A new chair that brings to mind classic, mid-century design.

  3. Keep magazines organized nearby for a quick break or a dose of inspiration.

  4. The sleek lines of this lamp look great with the rest of the furniture.

  5. Choose a roomy desktop with a drawer to give you plenty of space to spread out, and a place to stash all those pens and other little office necessities.

  6. Pick up a sheepskin (real or faux) to lend a bit of softness to hard seats.

  7. A colorful Moroccan rug brings in some interest without going too color or pattern-crazy.

Would you welcome an office like this into your home?

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Image: Now Designs, on Amazon

Accessories in the kitchen can make a well-designed space look even better, and can distract from a multitude of sins in a kitchen that might need a little updating. If you need a dishtowel, make it a cheery one! Like cooking with fresh ground pepper? Add a colorfully designed pepper mill to your counter! Below are some fun finds for the kitchen that add style as well as function.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Images: (1) West Elm (2) Design Within Reach (3) Anthropologie (4) Boon (5) The Container Store (6) West Elm (7) Studiopatró (8) Crate & Barrel (9) Rifle Paper Co.(10) Amazon (11) West Elm (12) Anthropologie

  1. Warm metals like copper are on-trend right now, and these soap dispensers are an easy way to bring a little dose of that trend in to your kitchen.

  2. Add some pepper with some pep.

  3. Check, please!

  4. This is meant for baby bottles, pacifiers, and the like, but it will hold small dishes and glasses too.

  5. Boxy and modern knife storage gets your knives out of the drawer and ready to go.

  6. Paper towels aren’t the most exciting things in a kitchen design-wise, but they sure are handy to have within reach. A simple, earthy holder is a nice way to store a roll.

  7. Easy as pie!

  8. Bring a little diner style to your kitchen with this great dishtowel.

  9. Even if you don’t typically write recipes out on cards, you might just be tempted to because these are so adorable.

  10. Yes, a bread box really does do something besides look cute on your kitchen counter. Your bread will stay fresh for much longer!

  11. If you like to keep a few cooking utensils within easy reach, these ceramic crocks are a stylish way to corral them.

  12. Another stylish option for storing knives, this time with a more rustic look.

What would you add for a dash of style to your kitchen?