The Art of Layering Rugs

layered rugs

Layering rugs isn’t exactly a new trend, but with the recent explosion of bohemian decorating options for the masses, my pinterest page as been blowing up with kilim style rugs layered over larger jute rugs. It’s one thing to see these styled shots in photo shoots, or more often, editorial photo shoots for catalogs, but it’s much harder to make this look actually work at home. I’ve had a few projects lately where we (me and the client) were considering the layered rug look and it can be tricky business!

Layering is AWESOME for creating texture, which I think is really its main function (plus adding a good dose of color depending on your palette). Additionally, kilim style rugs are often pricy and found in smaller sizes since they are very labor intensive to make. Using a neutral backdrop, such as a jute or sisal rug allows you to showcase a gorgeous, smaller woven rug without the giant price tag.

I’ve pulled together some of my favorite photographs, which illustrate the methods or “looks” that I like best for layering and translate most easily into “real-life” decorating.

#1 – Layering in a Hallway: Transitional spaces are often overlooked and left empty. Using the layered rug look could bring some real life and color into an otherwise dull area of your home.

layering rugs hallway rug

Image via

layering rugs hallway rug

Image via

#2 – Neutral Area Rug + Highlight Rug: The key to this look is that your neutral rug and highlight rug are proportional. The base rug should be large enough for the space, and hold the highlight rug nicely with a border around all sides. You want to see the two rugs together, and how they interact with one another.

layering rugs living room

Image via

layering rugs living room

Image via

layering rugs living room

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layering rugs living room

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Image via clothandkind on instagram

Image via clothandkind on instagram

Image via ashleytstark on instagram

Image via ashleytstark on instagram

#3 – The Real Boho Look: This look is for the textile collector or true lover of bohemian style. It’s ultra layered, eclectic, and works best if the whole floor or area is covered. It’s best to work off a color scheme here. As you can see from the photos, each room has rugs with a central color or two.

layering rugs living room

Image from Ikea via Refinery29

layering rugs living room

Image via OneKingsLane – Katie Tarses home

Image via

Image via

Can’t wait to share some photos of my own projects with layered rugs, but for now these will have to do! What do you think? Do you like the layered look? Any of the three options appeal to you the most?


Centered By Design is featured in Germany!

I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from German design blogger Maria Spassov a few weeks ago. Through the wonders of the web, Maria had found my work online and thought it was compelling enough to ask me for an interview, which she would share with her blog readers in Germany. I was touched!

The interview went live this week! Maria asks REALLY GOOD questions about life and design. Here are a few examples of her stellar questions:

  • Imagine you’re teaching a class in the school of life. What would be your tips?
  • How do you achieve good scale in design? Scale is a really interesting and difficult topic.
  • Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets the color palette. What is your first source of inspiration?

Read the FULL INTERVIEW and browse Maria’s other great design-related posts. Also, even cooler news is that Maria just launched an E-BOOK that is quickly becoming a top pick on Amazon.

In Maria’s words, “The ebook offers a window into the life and mind of some of the greatest designers and architects of our time. I so hope that you’ll enjoy my interviews with Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler, Marc Newson, Vicente Wolf, Tom Kundig, Michael Graves, Kelly Behun, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard and many others. The interviews answer various questions about design, architecture, daily routines, favorite books, success and happiness.”

Here’s the cover photo:


I can’t wait to dive into this book and read all Maria’s great interviews. Thanks so much for the feature Design Elements and Maria!


The Art of Styling with Baskets

eliza gran studio baskets

True confession: I have a compulsive basket buying habitat. So many shapes, sizes, colors and uses baskets are where it’s at my friends. They are relatively inexpensive and carried at almost every retailer these days. You can usually find awesome baskets at resale shops, flea markets, and if you’re traveling, make sure to check out baskets that might be native to that particular country. Opportunity for major basket scores abroad!

I also use baskets ALL THE TIME when styling photos. They can fill up dead space, keep shots looking organized, add needed texture, become a planter, toilet paper storage and the list goes on.

Here are some of my personal basket styling shots:

basket planter styling

Basket as a plant holder.


Baskets to fill in empty space and cover vents.


Bedroom basket mostly to look pretty.


Vintage picnic basket for shelf decoration.


Medium size basket to hold papers and drawings.

Here are a few basket styling ideas I’ve got on my list to try:


Baskets as wall art installation. Image via FieldStoneHillDesign.


Baskets on hanging pegs. I think this would be great in a laundry room. Image via Pinterest.


Bathroom basket for TP. Image via

Here are some of the baskets I’m loving and the links where you can find them too!


  1. Eliza Gran Studio – Pom Pom Baskets
  2. Territory Designs – Oaxaca Indigo Basket
  3. Ballard Designs – Wicker Chest 
  4. West Elm – Graphic Oversized Baskets
  5. Baskets of Africa – Ghana Bolga Style

Got a brilliant basket idea? Let me know what it is!


Style Your Dresser Three Ways: Boho, Romantic or Glam

If you caught Monday’s blog post, you probably saw the gorgeous photos of custom painted furniture at MegMade. I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to have some fun with one of Meg’s awesome pieces. I spotted a gorgeous black and wood dresser with some brass details.

I thought it’d be interesting to try styling the same piece in three different styles. 1. To show how versatile a piece of transitional furniture can be, and 2. Because sometimes you don’t know what look you’ll really love until you pull all the elements together. If one of the looks suits you best, I’ve listed some resources under the roundup collages.

Also, these kind of knick-knacks are perfect for your thrifting list. Jot down a few items you’ll need on a post-it and stick it in your wallet. Next time you find yourself at a second hand store or flea market, you’ll have that list of things to keep your eye out for!

Don’t miss my very exciting .gif at the end of the post! (I’m very proud of my first .gif – haha, hopefully I’ll advance my .gif skills quickly).


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ROUNDUP RESOURCES: Textiles – Territory Design, Tote Bag – Noonday Collection, Plants – Alapash Home, Bowl – IKEA, Jewelry – Free People


WWM-MegMade-5778 glamdresser GlamAccessories

ROUNDUP RESOURCES: Lamp – 1st Dibs, Birdcage – One Kings Lane, Starburst Mirror – Target, Candleholder – Domino, Vintage Replica Trunk – Wayfair, Marbled Paper – Calico Wallpaper


WWM-MegMade-5883 romanticdresser RomanticAccessories

Lipstick – Anthropologie, Vintage Handkerchief, Dried Seeded Eucalyptus, Vintage Printable Artwork, Brass Bowl – Nate Berkus for Target, Vintage Books and Lace Jewelry

Do you have a favorite look? I’d love to know which one it is, leave me a comment below!



Women Who MAKE: MegMade

There is so much good stuff happening with this month’s Women Who Make!

  • #1 – My interview with Meg Piercy was so much fun. She is a down-to-earth, hardworking, family and business-oriented lady with creativity out the wazoo! I’ve been following Meg since her first little store front on Montrose, and have been incredibly inspired and impressed with how she’s grown her furniture business.
  • #2 – The lovely and talented, Carolina Mariana, has graciously lent her amazing eye to the Women Who Make monthly series!  All of these photos were taken by Carolina, who you can find on Instagram or the Web.
  • #3 – MegMade is having a Grand Opening Party the last weekend of June and you’re invited! Check Meg’s blog to find out details, which are coming soon. Also, anyone who mentions Centered By Design will get 10% off at MegMade during June!
  • #4 – Stay tuned to this blog for two more collaborations from Centered By Design & MegMade! We’re styling one dresser three ways, and taking some trash and turning it into treasure for a top-secret before and after reveal coming later this summer.


Name: Meg Piercy

Age: 31

Current title/company name: Owner, MegMade, Inc.

Years in operation: 2


What is your first memory of making [art]/being creative?

I remember when I was little; I would color in coloring books, and then go to the neighbors and sell them. They would pay me in quarters for my artwork. Little did I know my mom had given them the money in advance, and I didn’t find this until a few years ago! I guess entrepreneurship was in my blood from when I was a wee little one.

How did your education or past work experience give you the confidence to go out on your own as a small business owner?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, risk takers. They always encouraged going out and spreading your wings. I worked as a consultant and project manager for a while before I had my son, and that definitely helped me learn processes and the importance that the business side has in the creative field.

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Tell us about the process of launching your own business, Meg Made. Best parts? Biggest challenge?

The interesting thing for MegMade is that it kind of started by accident. My husband was starting his business at the time and we were broke, so I painted our sons changing table. Then I just got addicted to painting furniture because of the awesome before and afters! The biggest challenge of owning your own business is trusting that each month we will be able to sell enough pieces to cover all of the costs, but the good far outweigh the bad. We love owning our own business, providing jobs for so many people and of course seeing the look on our customers’ faces when they see the finished product in their home!

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What is your favorite part of the creative process? What inspires you and why?

My favorite part is how something that was once considered garbage, with a little love, can be made beautiful again. I love looking at the pieces when they are dropped off and seeing what they can be once finished. I can actually picture what it will look like and that makes me excited.


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What is the best advice you have for other female entrepreneurs?

Stay focused. Do one or two things really well and then add on. If you try to do all things at once, you will go crazy and get burnt out.

Do you have a design philosophy, and if so, what is it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some West Elm and Restoration Hardware, but what I especially love are things that no one else will have. Something special. That is why we love what we create here because chances are, even if someone has the same piece of furniture, it was not finished the same way.

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You’ve grown your business quickly from a tiny storefront to a giant store and warehouse! Did you always have a plan for expansion? Where is MegMade headed in the next 3 – 5 years?

I clearly remember when we were painting our tenth dresser or so during our first-borns nap time (in our hallway), my husband said, this is going to get big, really big. With his confidence, we signed our first lease a year and a half ago for our teeny tiny storefront. Needless to say, he was right, we now have a 7,800 square foot showroom.

As for our future, there are a lot of options that we are considering, but first we want to make sure we have the process and people in place to make it happen! 

Do you have a most popular item?

Because each of our pieces are one-of-a-kind, it is hard to say, but we for sure sell a TON of changing tables! We break our style down into Frenchy, MCM, Traditional and Transitional. I would say we sell Transitional pieces most often.


What do you enjoy most about the creative community here in Chicago?

Creative people have a way of seeing the world that is so different than anyone else. I love going out to the lake or downtown with my friends that are also in the creative industry because it’s the little things that catch their eye and transcend into their next creative project. That is inspiring.

Centered By Design is my business name , but it’s also the idea that we can find a bit of sanctuary each day through design, that good design can center us and make us feel great. Does your design process center you in any way? If so, how?

Well, it is called MegMade because every time we had friend over my husband would constantly say, “Meg made this” or “Meg made that,” thus MegMade. So for sure, creating is where I find my happy place. I find my sanctuary in my faith and prayer, but for sure find a lot of joy in creating.

Meg’s Chicago Favorites:

  • Favorite spot to get inspired: The paint room at MegMade
  • Favorite florist: Trader Joe’s
  • Favorite place to shop for home décor/furniture/thrift: Randolph Street Flea Market
  • Favorite place for coffee: Heritage Bicycle’s General Store
  • Favorite place for a sweet treat: Gonna be honest, can’t beat blizzards from Dairy Queen


Thanks for reading! You can find out more about MegMade and shop HERE. Sign-up for my RSS feed to never miss a post, including next month’s Women Who MAKE, which is going to be a triple threat!



Color Trends: I’m Loving Black & White Gingham

Gingham is a funny word to say and spell. It’s a light-weight cotton fabric that usually consist of white stripes paired with a bold color to create a checked pattern. Everybody remembers Dorothy’s blue dress from The Wizard of Oz, right? Well, that’s blue gingham. You might also conjure up some images of your grandmother’s red and white checked summer table cloth.

Gingham is making the rounds in fashion and interior design this season (more than I’ve ever noticed before). It’s always been a classic look for bathing suits, and often reappears in the summertime since it’s lightweight and casual. I’m personally a huge fan of black and white gingham. It’s so fresh, clean and classic! You really can’t go wrong wearing it, or styling your home with it for that matter. For your interior, a simple and contemporary look would be to pair a gingham table cloth with some modern chairs (see pic below). Instant cool! Pastel gingham would also look adorable as bedding or accents in kids’ rooms.

Take a look at some of the black and white gingham fashions and interiors I’m loving lately. All items are linked below!


Go get your preppy on!


Speaking Engagement at WeWork

I’m honored to have the opportunity to share more about my career journey with Quarterlette and WeWork next Wednesday evening. YOU are invited (there is also free food and goodie bags!). I would love, love, love to see some friendly, smiling faces in the audience, and I have lots to share with you, as do the other three career driven ladies speaking.

You might remember this blog post, Navigating a Career Change with Compassion, which I wrote about starting my new career path at age 30. This is a great place to start if you can’t make it to the event, but are interested in taking some baby steps towards a new career path.

Here are two of my favorite career related quotes (for me personally), but I think they can apply to everyone. I’ll be using these in my talk on Wednesday.

  • “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso
  • “An interior is the natural projection of the soul.” – Coco Chanel

Below is some more information about the event. If you’d like to attend please RSVP to the Eventbrite invite.

Join the Co-Founders of on May 27th at WeWork River North for a special girls’ night networking event and speaker series. We’ll be highlighting four dynamic women with completely different career paths — an interior designer who launched her own design firm, a social impact entrepreneur, a fashion entrepreneur, and PhD student studying Industrial Engineering. All 4 women will be sharing their unique career stories and talking candidly about the ups and the downs they have encountered (or are still encountering!) as they build meaningful careers. Whether you’re looking to change jobs, hear some great professional advice, or simply be inspired to go down a new path, join us for what’s sure to be a great evening. In addition to hearing from our speakers, we’ll have some treats for you to enjoy, gift bags to take home, and time for networking with all of our amazing guests. #QLmixandmingle (yes, men are welcome to attend as well).


Claire Staszak, Interior Designer + Yoga Teacher, Centered By Design

  • Taking the time to re-center ourselves and find a personal sanctuary is more important than ever in today’s fragmented and fast-paced world. I believe that sanctuary is much closer to home (literally!) than you think. My approach to working with clients blends my intuitive nature as a yoga instructor with my passion for interior design. I see on a daily basis how the connection between the body, mind, and our physical environment can have powerful influences on personal well-being. Whether your ideal space is an avant-garde apartment, modern family home, or innovative office, I would love to help you create your perfect sanctuary.

Jackie Ng, PhD Candidate in the Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences department at Northwestern University.

  • Her research interests lie in using analytical and statistical tools in the areas of new product development and business model innovation. Prior to starting her PhD studies, Jackie worked at Morgan Stanley and Microsoft. She has an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a MBA from Columbia University. She also enjoys skiing, tennis and traveling in her spare time.

Nicole Yeary, President and Founder of Ms.Tech a social impact focused organization based in Chicago.

  • Nicole has spent over fifteen years leading Fortune 500 companies in Direct Sales, Marketing Services, and Learning Development and the last seven years working for, with, advising, and building, startup companies. In just under a year, Ms. Tech was recognized in “Crain’s Guide to Networking” as one of “Six Great Tech Groups, practically guaranteed to commune with the scene’s best and brightest!”

Alex Batdorf, CMO of ZipFit Denim

  • A Chicago based startup helping men find perfect fitting jeans fast using their proprietary technology. Prior to ZipFit, she worked in marketing for brands such as Valspar, Chicago-based fashion brand Lara Miller, Booth School of Business and Starcom Mediavest Group. She studied Sociology at the University of Chicago. 



I would LOVE to see you there!


Flea Market Fabulous

Summer flea market season officially opens this weekend!

Here in Chicago, it’s marked by the Randolph Street Market taking their festivities outside. I’m super excited that this year, I’ve been invited to the media breakfast and early buy (before the market opens) to mark my favorite vintage finds with a green ribbon. If you’re in Chicago and shopping the market keep your eyes peeled for the green ribbons. Lots of design lovers, bloggers, and media are invited to pick their favorites. Trust me, I can’t bring everything I love home, so I’ll mark the good stuff for you too!

If you don’t live in Chicago, or you’re out-of-town for the holiday here’s a 2014 USA Today article listing 10 of the best vintage flea markets in the states.

It’s always good to be prepared when you go to any flea market. You may have bargaining in your genes (thanks mom), but being prepared means you’re more likely to score the right items at a fair price. Here’s my top 10 list for getting Flea Market Fabulous!

  1. BRING CASH. Yes, most people take cards theses days, but having cash is always better for bargaining and sometimes you won’t have to pay tax with a cash exchange. It can also be a good way to limit your spending.
  2. DRESS A LITTLE SHABBY. This was a good tip from a friend. Cute new outfit? Don’t wear it to a flea market. This is old, dirty stuff and if you’re buying you’ll probably be lugging it around yourself. Also, it’s not easy to haggle for a discount with that Fendi bag on your shoulder. See what I mean?
  3. MAKE A LIST. I always have specific items I’m shopping for and I write them down to remind myself what I’m actually looking for. It’s so easy to get distracted! Easy decorative items to carry and buy could be lamps, mirrors, clocks, barware, and possibly rugs.
  4. TAKE MEASUREMENTS. If you are looking for a dresser, cabinet, credenza or the like make sure you know the size of the space you are going to place the piece in. Measure the height, depth, and width and write it on your shopping list.
  5. BRING A TAPE MEASURE. Whelp, having the measurements written down won’t do you any good if you can’t measure the piece when you see the perfect thing!
  6. WEAR A BACKPACK. I like to have both hands free for measuring, moving items around, and eventually carrying items I’ve purchased on both arms. Put your measuring tape, a poncho, a water bottle, sunscreen and cash in your bag and you are good to go!
  7. ALWAYS OFFER LESS. Items are usually priced high because vendors know people want to bargain, also they need room to lower prices at the end of the day or weekend. Don’t offer something insulting, but $5 – $25 less than marked is always fine in my book.
  8. KNOW WHERE YOUR CAR IS PARKED. If you are really serious about shopping for big items you need a car. Know what will fit in your car and where your car is actually parked if it’s a huge lot. Most likely you’ll be making a few trips to the car, or you’ll have a nice vendor who will help you transport the large item to your car.
  9. BRING A BUDDY. Having a friend with you is a great idea (this friend needs to love flea markets too). Two sets of eyes helps, and this person can be your back up on crunch time decisions, bargaining fiascos, and they can help you carry stuff to the car!
  10. DIG, DIG, DIG! Look in the sale bin, move things around, try to see what everyone else is missing. That’s where you strike GOLD my friend.

Here are a few pictures from my recent flea market and thrifting adventures.


Don Kelly’s in Northern Michigan. Awesome spot!


Where wicker chairs go to die.


My packed car after Wolf’s Flea at the Allstate Arena near Chicago.


Headboard score that I’ll most likely use as a wall hanging.

Good luck and happy hunting!


Color Trends: I’m Loving SAPPHIRE

May 14, 2015 Trend Love 0 Comments

I LOVE color. I also love the color sapphire, so much so that it was my engagement ring stone of choice (I know how Princess Kate of me). It just so happens that in 2015, I’m noticing the color sapphire everywhere. You could call it a trendy color at the moment, but it’s also classic and sure to never really go out of style.

Trends come in and out of favor, most repeating themselves, over and over again in different iterations. As for color, there are big color forecasting organizations that conduct lots of research to issue new “hot” colors each year. The fashion industry, the automotive industry and even the home design industry all weigh in and (I would guess) cater their product lines toward the colors that their team of experts think will sell best to the masses.

I enjoy looking at what paint companies have deemed their “new” or “top” colors of the year. Also, keeping an eye on the fashion industry helps since they move so quickly from season to season, and collection to collection. Often interior design trends follow fashion trends.

Alright, so that’s my diatribe on color trends at the moment. Here’s a look at a pretty moodboard for all you other sapphire lovers out there. I think decorating with sapphire, especially in large quantities, feels bold, moody and regal. I’m usually only one of the three (read: moody), so I think that’s why I love sapphire so much. I want to be more bold and regal. Who doesn’t? See all the links below!

color trend sapphire mood board



My Favorite Art Resources

There comes a moment in most 20 or 30 somethings lives when you realize that you need art, you need art real bad. You need actual frames on the walls, and heck you might even be up for that “gallery wall” everyone is talking about. When I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) six years ago, he actually tried to convince me that his precious, The Price Is Right T-Shirt, complete with name tag was sufficient wall art for our apartment. I strongly disagreed and proceeded to bury the t-shirt in a moving box he would never find.

Fast-forward to today, and I know a lot more about where to buy prints and affordable art. We love to collect original artwork when we can, but right now those are still splurge moments. Artwork (prints or originals) can really complete the look of a space, and even become a central inspiration or focal point for a room. I find that many of my clients have trouble trusting their instincts when it comes to choosing artwork, and they are always interested in my suggestions and resources.

Luckily there are many awesome art marketplaces popping up online, which make it easy to order framed works and support artists. One such marketplace is MINTED. Minted started out with stationary and still does great printable invitations and such, but what I love most is their art marketplace. They use a crowd-sourcing model to decide which artwork will sell, and they offer multiple framing options for each print. They have good search functions if you want to narrow your medium to illustration, photography, etc. Here are some of my current favorites on the site.

minted artwork centered by design

1. Life on Mars – Matthew Sampson  2. Point of View – R Studio  3. Mineral 03 – Lily Hanna  4. Do It Anyway 2 – Kristi Kohut  5. California Dreams – Alexandra Nazari  6. Distant Island Pier – Julia Contacessi

Another site that I think curates their selections well is One Kings Lane. I especially like the Gray Malin prints they carry, and I also enjoy their partnerships with lesser known artists. I was thrilled to see they were carrying work by Emily Proud, a California-based watercolor artist, I had discovered through Instagram. I was so happy to be able to purchase one of her prints in a large scale and at an affordable price!


1. Gray Malin – La Fontelina Beach Club  2. Emily Proud – The River

Natural Curiosities is a great resource for designers, and they do sell to the public as well (although it can be on the pricey side). They are based in LA and their founder, Christopher Wilcox, has been collecting art work for more than 20 years. I am obsessed with the Paule Marrot (1902 – 1987) art prints they carry. Marrot was French-born and was known for her innovative use of color and textiles.

pm2 pm1 pm4 pm3

Butterfly Blue, Fete, Clouds, Pink Birds. All works pictured by Paule Marrot sold through Natural Curiosities.

Etsy and Ebay are my other go-to places to find artwork. I’ll often use these sites when I’m trying to find something vintage. Etsy also has pretty good search functions when you are trying to find something very specific like “mermaid artwork” for a little girl’s room.


Mermaid print by Sascalia on Etsy

A few last sites to check out include the following. If you are based in Chicago, it’s worth a trip to Ravenswood to visit Neighborly. It’s a great little gift, home accessories, and poster shop that curates and frames a nice selection of local art prints. I especially love the Flatmade print pictured below, which Neighborly did carry (and hopefully still does!).

chicago has a great lake print flatmade

TONS of places to get some killer art. Go put something on your walls!