Decorating Bathrooms and Beach Houses

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I’m preparing for my upcoming maternity leave and have been making headway on my book that I’ve talked about over the past few months. 


If you have questions for me, make sure to submit them here because soon I will be going on maternity leave and want to get enough episodes queued up to sustain the weekly release schedule while I’m gone. 

This episode, we discuss…

[11:33] Refreshing a small bathroom (Penny) 

[17:41]  Decorating a family room (Jen) 


[11:33] Refreshing a small bathroom (Penny) 



Hi Betsy, I love listening to your podcast! I have discovered it recently and have almost caught up with all the older episodes. They have really inspired me! My question is how to freshen up my small downstairs shower room without changing the floors or tiles. The bathroom is off the hallway. We are hoping to renovate it at some point in the future, but it’s not in the plans for now. For the rest of the house we have gone for a scandi style, so keen to continue with that. I would like the bathroom to feel clean and fresh. I was thinking of maybe changing the mirror? And some plants? Looking forward to hearing your suggestions. Thank you!



You’re looking to brighten up this bathroom without doing any renovations, it sounds like. This bathroom has floor to ceiling tile with a small banded border in the middle that has variations of a sage green to an emerald green to a seafoam – kind of an ombre, repeated pattern around the middle of the bathroom. Then at the top, it has a really skinny maybe half inch border that looks like it’s just that darker emerald. Your bathroom has a glass shower and a white toilet and sink. One thing that I think would make a huge difference is right now it has a tiny circular mirror so I think you need a much larger mirror. 

You also have a storage cabinet above the toilet which is quite small as well. You’ve also got these floating small pieces above these white anchor pieces on the floor. For me, it’s redundant and visually cluttered. I would do a nice big mirror above the base that way people of all shapes and sizes can see themselves while they brush their teeth and apply their mascara. Do you really need this tiny storage cabinet? You have like a Hemnes storage piece across from the toilet so I would think about maybe utilizing that better or doing a taller piece there. I could see doing a taller piece next to the towel warmer rhat’s like a true cabinet if you have room for that because I think you’ll get a lot more storage space for your buck. 

In terms of this artwork, it feels so random. It really doesn’t go with the color scheme you’ve got going in here with the greens, nor does this blue bath mat or kind of faded maroon hand towel. I’m thinking that you’re really at a loss for the color palette in here and I would have it revolve around the greens. 

In a bathroom, it can be nice to have a 60/30/10 or a piece of art that has the color palette but you’re not going to have a lot of opportunity for artwork if you do the tall cabinet I’m recommending, which will give you a ton more storage and just make more sense visually. It’ll also help to distribute the weight in the room because right now the shower, the vanity and the toilet are all on one side and you only have the towel warmer and the door on the other side. We really need that taller cabinet to add some balance here. 

I would just lean into the ombre greens and pick a tone that’s lighter to medium. I don’t ever do a dark tone like the emerald because you can see every flaw so I wouldn’t be using that for the towels or bath mat, but I could see the seafoam or the lighter teal being a great option for that. 

Then maybe we just forego art because we have fully tiled walls..

Also reconsider the wastebasket. That is a shade of turquoise that really doesn’t go with the green. When you’re playing with a color palette that has shades of one tone, which is this emerald that fades down to a very light seafoam, you need to stay quite literal with that and this shocking turquoise trash can, is obviously not one of those shades so it’s clashing. I would rather see you do a neutral like maybe a gray or even black because we have so much white in here with the white cabinet, tiles, toilet, and sink. 


[17:41]  Decorating a family room (Jen) 



The question is this, we recently renovated a home that we have on the coast in Narragansett, Rhode Island. It is a very small home and we are making the most of the space that we have. We came from a large three-story colonial down to a 1600 square-foot ranch. I’m having some difficulty in the back family room. Some of the items in the pictures are new – particularly the rug and the recliners, which I absolutely love. Also the piece under the TV. As well as the TV! Like all husbands they like to have them big.

The window blinds are new and I selected the paint color as I like the cool coastal feel. I guess I would call my style coastal comfort? I don’t know though, maybe you can help me with that. I love the colors in this rug. But I’m struggling to pull everything together. I think the brown couch is throwing me off and I would eventually probably like to replace it. Any thoughts on that? What other pieces in this room do you think should be replaced and with what?

And any ideas on how to decorate the walls and any drapes or color needed around the sliding glass door?

I threw in a picture of two mirrors that I saved from my previous home and trying to decide whether or not they would work in this room or too modern looking? Thank you so much for any help you can offer.


Well Jen, it is always so fun to be decorating in Rhode Island especially in a beachy coastal style. Now if you wouldn’t have told me that this was Rhode Island, if you wouldn’t have told me that your style was coastal, I don’t think I would have gotten it from this particular room. 

I definitely think that the brown couch, which is kind of like a mushroom brown, is taking me in a direction that does feel less beachy and a bit more lake house. The rug, which has rusty oranges, a little bit of yellow ochre, some lighter blue, some navy, some grays, and some off white, doesn’t necessarily read beach. 

When I think beach, I think bright and these are a little bit shaded and moody so you’re going to want to make the colors that do evoke beach, which would be the lighter blues, and probably the navies. 


If our color palette was derived from this rug, the light blue, the navy and that coral. I think we can really start to make this a big statement, especially because the recliners and coaches are so dark it makes the whole room feel dark. 

Let’s start by changing out that couch ideally for something cream, as long as this isn’t going to be a beach rental, I think that’d be a good idea. I love the fact that you sent me these mirrors which are circular Starburst mirrors that appear to be champagne silver, but I can’t really tell the size. They’re big enough to make a statement, but not big enough to drive any color palette or anything. If you choose to use them in this room, I’m totally fine with that because we have other silvers in the room. 

I think you’re going to need some artwork but I would change out the couch. I like the pillows that are light blue and ivory. I think that the throw blanket that’s kind of taking us into the rustier version of the orange versus the coral version of the orange is a bit of a downer. I think we need to put a lumbar pillow or throw blanket on these big chunky recliners so that they feel less dark. 

Now, I like this beachy vibe of the tables even though it’s obvious that the coffee table, the end table, and maybe even the TV console are set. This lamp appears to be a shade of teal or something that’s not found in our inspiration piece which makes this lamp stick out like a sore thumb. 

While it does feel like the most beachy thing in the room, it really is not going with the rest of the room so I would eliminate it and maybe do like a seated glass. I think if we’re going to be doing these dark type lake house colors, then we need to bring in some beachy textures. I could see bringing in some rope in terms of maybe a floor lamp. I could also see bringing in some of that seated glass in terms of that cool table lamp. There’s lots of different ways we could go here but I think incorporating some beachy textures especially because we don’t have much wall space could be really cool. 

I don’t know how I feel about a lot of drapes. You have a lot of windows in here and I really love them. You’ve got shades on them which are looking really sharp. The one window that does have that very flimsy rod, those cream drapes are really not doing anything. They look sad, frankly. I think that I could be down with this room just not having the drape. I might flank that window with two pieces of art. We have so many rectilinear shapes that are vertical in this room with all of these beautiful windows and doors that I would think about doing maybe two squares like a diptyque piece on one and piece two on either side of that window that bring in the colors that are reiterated in the rug so that we’re reinforcing that color palette. 








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