Classroom Map

It seems like the older I get, and the more I work on this house, the more I feel like following my own design instincts, not set-in-stone ‘design rules’. Ya know what I mean?

These days, it seems to pretty much all boils down to smiling.


‘Cause stress and anxiety ain’t got nothin’ on a cheery interior, right?

Okay, okay- obviously that’s not entirely true, but whether its furniture pieces, or fabric patterns, or fresh paint- my current motto is…


And one of the main things I love about “go with your grin”-style decorating & design is that you can just kind of let inspiration take the reins, and literally just go with whatever it is that makes your heart hippity hop!

We’ve been having fun working on our master bedroom (again) lately, and as we pull things together, we’re trying to focus more on creating an environment that’s inspiring and meaningful to us, and less on what’s “supposed” to go in a grown-ups bedroom.

The classroom map Kev gave me for my birthday last June not only makes me giddy to the gills visually, I think it subconsciously encourages this homebody/nervous nelly to keep exploring, dreaming, and discovering, too…

Sure, it’s not your typical master bedroom art- but it sure does make me smile!

Ooh! And speaking of my big ol’ map…here’s what we’re thinkin’ about doing to the left of it…

We even brought in the wing-back chair that sits in our living room to see if using a chair that size would look & feel right in real life, and sure enough, everything looked and felt just right!

(Note: The items I photoshopped in the photo above are from, and aren’t necessarily the exact pieces we’ll use.  Although, I would like to add that I have ADORED that spectacular seagrass seat for like two years, and if I happen to get one for Christmas from someone whose name starts with the letter K, he or she definitely wouldn’t need to hang onto the gift receipt.)

Anywho…I’ll keep you posted on the cheery chair situation, and in the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my big ol’ map from my side of the bed. Which brings me to the moral of this silly story: Most of the time it’s better to be safe than sorry, but in design, sometimes it’s better to be smiley than safe!

PS- We (finally) started working on our home office this weekend too- yahoo! Up until yesterday, the room was jam-packed with all kinds of stuff we weren’t using anymore, but our (awesome) neighbor, Josette, helped us move it all over to her booth at Prattville Pickers today so that we could start with a clean slate! (If you’re out there anytime soon, check out booth #D177!)


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  1. says

    I so identify with you, Layla! Decorating or reno’s can be the most anxiety ridden situations…we just don’t know the outcome.. So is life. I love to see what you and Kevin are up to…it’s always interesting!! I am such a homebody, too, and am always looking at my nest to make it more secure and cozy!


    • Layla says

      Thank you for the kind comment- and I hope you’re having a wonderful time at your comfy cozy home today! :-D

  2. Andee says

    I REALLY want that cart in the picture on the right!! That would make me grin for sure. Love the map in the bedroom – why not??

    • Layla says

      Hi Andee!
      I think we marked the market cart $20…I loved it, but just didn’t have a place for it here at TLC! :-)

  3. Kristen says

    Thank you for this post! I’m not very good as decorating and have been just stumped on what to do with my boring bedroom. Thanks for the reminder to just use whatever I like to make it a room my husband and I WANT to be in!

  4. says

    Reading this post made me happy! I love the map idea… although for me.. I think I take out my anxiety by cleaning, redoing… sort of like the “nesting” thing…then I feel tons better!

  5. says

    hi layla,

    i think this might be the first time i’ve ever commented on your blog. if i make any typos, it’s because i just woke up and everyone else is asleep so i thought, hey, might as well check out blogs! but my eyes are still asleep, lol.

    anyway, i recently added you to my ‘list of favorite blogs’ at the bottom of my blog. i hope you don’t mind. & i’ve added you to my google reader list, as well.

    this is a fantastic post, by the way. i, too, have succumbed to what SHOULD be in my house, rather than following my instincts about what i LIKE. i’m slowly letting go of that. i go to my friends’ houses, which are all so cookie cutter with their builder kitchens, dark wood floors, leather furniture, no pictures on the walls, etc. and i feel like i, too, should fit that mold. but i’m breaking away from that! to heck with it!

    i joined a pinterest challenge as per young house love & for example of going with my gut, i’m framing my grandmother’s birth certificate from 1904 and hanging it as part of a gallery wall.

    our master bedroom is a real issue, too. what you’ve done with your wall is amazing. do you have a tutorial as to how this is done?

    • Layla says

      Hi Ashlee!

      Thanks for commenting today! Your pinterest challenge project sounds awesome, and I hope you have a lot of fun with it!
      As for our master bedroom- just search for the words “master bedroom” in our search box in our sidebar and it should take to you all our master bedroom related posts. You’ll want to read the ones called “Plankification” to see how we attached the planks! :-D

  6. kelly in georgia says

    LOVE that map (great colors in that one!). LOVE that quilt with all the pops of red! and you crack me up with your not-so-obvious hints (ha) for the Christmas chair/gift. (But I think it IS a great idea)
    Happy Sunday!

  7. Rae says

    I am so happy it seems like you’ve been blogging more lately! This has been my favorite blog for a few years and I’ve been waiting for updates on your bedroom and office. I know you two are extremely busy though so I forgive you! :)
    How about an update on that bathroom you were renovating? And the dining room? I’d also love to see a post about your latest adoption news!

    I just adore you two, keep up the amazing work!

    • Layla says

      Hi Rae!
      Thank you for your sweet comment!
      We haven’t really done anything in the guest bathroom or dining room lately- but as soon as we do, you know I’ll be bloggin’ all about it! :-)
      We don’t really have any adoption news to report right now either, but like I said, once we get that ball rolling, we’ll be sure to post an update!

  8. Roxanna says

    Love the wall treatment and the MAP in the bedroom. What is there not to love about this map……. has just the right colors with the pop of red. My brother-n-law the History Teacher has a whole collection of old framed maps in a wooden case once used in classrooms a very long time ago. I told my sister she should hang one in her entry but she hasn’t taken my design idea to heart, lol. Also, loving the reading nook in the odd corner.

    • Layla says

      Hi Roxanna!
      Very cool to read about your brother-in-law’s maps! I’ve got two more pull-down maps…I’ve just got to figure out where to put ‘em! :-D

  9. says

    I love your map and I totally agree with your “happy design philosophy.” Sometimes I get trapped by this idea that my house needs to “look grown-up” and “pulled together,” but when I work to get it just so, I end up feeling all twitchy. I’m currently in the process of figuring out how to make all of my little happy flea market finds work together in a way that won’t say “cluttered” but will say “happy!!!”

  10. says

    Will you two come and design my house for me???? I am HORRIBLE at decorating and haven’t really bothered to do so b/c we were moving every 2 years and had babies/toddlers at the time so our shelves were filled with toys we were tired of hearing or things they had grabbed and needed to be put out of their reach. I don’t really have a “house” right now b/c once again we are in on for less than a year, but one day I dream of having a permanent house and having someone help me figure out how in the world to make a home.
    (p.s. – I’m in Montgomery for a year and every time I read your blog I want to drive on over, meet you and just tag along for the day. You and Kevin are too cute! And I still think you are lying through your teeth about how old you are.)

  11. says

    Isn’t that what makes a house a home? A home is an extension of the people within it’s walls, if not it’s just a furnished house. Your smile is a reflection of the love and life that dwell inside The Lettered Cottage.
    Smiling in NJ

    • Layla says

      Yay! So glad to hear you’re smiling in up there in NJ!
      And thank you for the sweet comment, Deborah! :-)

  12. says

    L.O.V.E. the chair lamp map idea! Knowing your blog like I do, you’ll tweak and change and BEEYUTEEFY it even more before it’s all said and done. Can’t wait to see the end result!

    • Layla says

      Thanks Farmer’s Wife! :-D
      I can’t wait to see the end result either…it’s been a long time comin’- LOL!

  13. sarita says

    with the map you can also learn where all of the states are and the capital of each state!! good for you to face your anxiety. I have panic anxiety – for 28 years now – and some days it’s more difficult just to go across the street to get my mail. I’m workin on it though!

    • Layla says

      You’re so right, Sarita! It’s been fun re-learning all the capitals with Kev! :-D
      I hope you’re having an anxiety-free day today, and that things continue to get less stressful for you! Anxiety is no fun and my heart goes out to you!

    • Layla says

      Thanks Kelley!
      We got it from…it’s called the Clearlake Quilt. (Although I think it’s been discontinued- so you might have to check on eBay!)

  14. Ter'e Crow Lindsay says

    I love it!
    If you can’t be perfectly happy in your very own bedroom……..then where??? I love the map idea…………you go girl!

    BTW, I spyed that wire cart………….oooohhhhhhhh that is a killerdiller. Wouldn’t that be darling, draped and stacked with quilts?

  15. susan bush says

    Ok Layla….you win love the map and Kevin she differently needs the chair from potter barn …I would love that chair myself might have to put on my Christmas list….The rooms coming along nicely.

  16. says

    You two are just ridiculously adorable. I’m ready for another video. I love hearing your guys talk and Kevin play (even if you are secretly stalking/filming him at The Lodge).

    I love that seagrass wingback chair too!

    Layla, thanks for having an uplifting, fun, real, inspiring, fun, fun, fun blog!

  17. Venita says

    I love maps, especially big ones-good for you puttingbitbwhere YOU want it! I wish I lived closer, I want that picture in your booth-the big red house with the gate. I love it! Thanks for the encouragement to decorate in a way that makes us smile, I needed a confidence boost in that department. : )

  18. Marty Trout says

    too funny, because i also WANT that set, but darker. 599 for both! like you, i’ve wanted it for quite some time!!!! looks great!

  19. JoAnne McPherson says

    I love the map. As far as the Seagrass chair, I suppose you wouldn’t want to hear that there is a set just like you photoshopped on our Craigslist. Problem? It is in Hawaii and I think the shipping would make it more expensive than new!

  20. Mel Geldbach says

    Layla, I love that you are decorating your house in a way that makes you happy, brings out your personality and makes you feel good. The best compliment I’ve ever gotten on my home was when I had a friend over for the first time to visit and she said, “I love your house, Mel, it’s so YOU”. My home will always have dogs incorporated in it, both real and decorative & just a little bit of animal print ‘cuz I just love it. My favorite pair of pants when I was a teenager had black/grey/white animal print on it! Wore those suckers to see Bon Jovi. Love your style and keep on doing what you do best – making us smile whether it’s through your decorating, funny posts, passions and animal love ; )

  21. maggie says

    Happy is good! No sense in living with something that doesn’t make you happy. Way to drop a hint, too! :) MUCH more effective posted in a blog!
    That tobacco basket in the pic would make me happy as a pig in mud! I’ve been wanting one forever!

  22. Georgi says

    I spy the tobacco basket. I lusted after that when you found it on one of your road trips, I never knew what they were until your posts. Thanks for the education. I love you style, your enthusiasm and your love for life. You inspire me. oh….least I forget, you are also the one who introduced me to Mary Kay Andrews. I read The Fixer Upper. What a fun book. ;)

  23. Kelly says

    Hi! Love your blog. I spy a tobacco basket in the picture – do you know how much and if shipping is available?


    PS- Waiting for my husband to get home to hang our map in our room!

  24. says

    OH yeah, I love the way it’s going to evolve, the colors on the map, the rest of the room, it is just a happy space. :) You’re right we need what makes us happy.. I find this week is stacking up to be extra busy and full of potential chaos, which makes me start to dread.. but then I have to remember first and foremost, God who helps me through all things, and then take everything step by step because my dread of what I perceive might happen is robbing me of this amazing Sunday.. Be still my heart.. (Thanks for helping me work through that) :)

  25. Mary says

    Is the framed picture of the church still available? I’ve been wanting to order one of your prints for above my fireplace and have been searching high and lo for a frame large enough for it and can’t find one. I would love to buy it!!!

  26. Shawn says

    Hi Layla, I love your posts! Things I’d Tell My 17 Year Old Self touch my heart. We used maps in different rooms over the years.. A cartoon version of a map of our town, as reminder to pray for our surroundings. We have a couple maps of places we have vacation, that stir up fun memories. My daughter has talked about a world map for her room, I just haven’t got to it yet. We have been in our home for 3 years now and some ideas were just there and doable, some are a dream in my mine I still piecing together. What holds me up is if I spend money on it I want it to be just so. My daughter’s are 18 and 20 and this makes them think I just a little crazy. In my timing I confident I’ll bring the look in my mind into my home. Thanks for all you do:)

  27. says

    I love your new motto (and your map!). My living room mantel is currently sporting a colorful alphabet canvas. It was most definitely meant for a little boy’s room, but it makes me smile!

  28. says

    I have never been one to follow rules and this is one area in which it’s perfectly fine for me to do as I wish and fly by the seat of my pants as I like.

    Today after lunch we were wandering the farmstore. One of us was looking for a pair of boots, but me, I was looking for some inspiration.

  29. Kim Meagher says

    I too love that seagrass chair…could never justify buying it…found one at Pier One that looks very similar and a lot cheaper!

  30. Sandra says

    I know you say go with your “grin” when it comes to design, but I have a hard time even starting! I tend to go to your blog and others to get good jump off ideas. Since we have moved into our new house three months ago, I have yet to complete one room. I need some design expertise to help me. Maybe you and Kevin could stop by some time. :)
    I like the idea of putting the map in your bedroom. I love the colors of the vintage maps. I would love to use one in our boys gameroom.
    Oh, BTW, I left you a tweet with a good hardwood flooring guy in the Tri-County area. I am still new to the Twitter thing and not sure if you got the tweet. Hardwood Solutions did all our wood flooring in our new home. It is a small business out of Wetumpka. I really did my research when trying to find hardwood floor for our new home. You are more than welcome to come by and look at it. :)

  31. Teresa says

    Layla I loveeeeee that picture of the red barn! Wish I lived closer to you I would snap that up in a second. Would you consider a “mail sale”?

  32. says

    I completely agree about using what you love in your home – your map is delightful and glad it brings a smile to your face! A wing chair would love lovely in the corner – can’t wait to see what you decide on.


  33. Dawn says

    Great idea on the chair for that space, Layla! I love it too! I am so glad that you guys have the guts to put what you love in your space and pair down what you don’t need by giving it a new home!

  34. says

    I agree Layla … decorating for what makes me grin is what I prefer. My Mr., however, gets nervous about doing that. Example: I want to rip out the dated berber carpet on our stairs and paint the steps. He can’t wrap his brain around that idea yet … afraid of when we go to sell, …someday in 5 years or more, buyers won’t like the painted stairs. Our struggle is doing what will sell the house, and what won’t. Personally, I don’t think buyers would like the berber on the stairs!

    • Layla says

      I’m with you, Cheri! I think setting your house apart from all the others in it’s price range by doing things to update it and give it character are going to sweep potential buyers off their feet! :-D
      I think folks are generally looking for houses that feel good to be in, and that they don’t have to spend time updating after they move in!

  35. Leslie says

    Love it! And the chair… and well everything about your room :) I still check homegoods for those lamps every time I’m in there. And now I want to come shop that booth!

  36. says

    I can’t believe you guys are selling the barn picture! I LOVE that thing… Can’t wait to see your “finished” bedroom I( realize that as soon as it’s “finished” you will start all over).


  37. says

    :) it looks great! I wish I could get to Prattville…stat…I want the cart, the barn picture, the tobacco basket and and and and, I’m sure there’s more! Love your style! Can’t wait to see more!

  38. Joy B says

    Hey Layla!

    I love your blog. I read every day! I have a very similar classroom map that I have not hung. Mine has chains attached at the top that were used to hang it in the classroom. I suggested to a friend of mine that I was going to hang it with the chains and roller at the top intact and she said I should cut it off the roller. She is overly critical and said that if I left it on the roller it would be too “college apartment”. I didn’t realize until I saw yours that she hurt my feelings and killed my inspiration, because to me the roller is what makes it awesome! Thanks for helping me find the inspiration again!

    I am curious if you used screws though that back metal bracket thing to hang yours or if there are chains on yours that I just can’t see.

    Keep up the good work. I get a lot of smiles from you!


  39. says

    I agree! I just spray painted a lamp green because I though green would look happier. Turns out… it does. :)

    I’ve had a little crush on that chair for while now, too. I would go perfectly in our office-to-be. My Kevin could do worse than to go that direction for Christmas, too!

  40. says

    Love the map and really love the way your room is coming together. I bought that same rug this summer when it was on sale for $169…smokin deal! So watch for it to go on sale!

  41. Amy says

    Good news heard on the news about smiling. “Smiling sends a signal to your brain that tells you to be happy.”
    I’m smiling more…

  42. Shar in California says

    Love the new plan with that beautiful chair. Go with your smile.
    On another note, can’t believe you are selling that wonderful fall artpiece from last years Fall mantle. I love it and would totally buy it if I lived nearby. I’ve been meaning to print one off from your high res download giveaway but can’t figure out how to print it large like yours was.
    Go with your smile. It’s perfect.

  43. says

    I love that you are going with your “grin” instinct. It’s not about conforming to what somebody says is popular and in right now but aobut using what makes you happy. I love the setup of the map with your future chair and rug. I think it will look great!

  44. karen says

    “we’re trying to focus more on creating an environment that’s inspiring and meaningful to us, and less on what’s “supposed” to go in a grown-ups bedroom.”

    Love this!!

  45. Deborah says

    In a word “WOW”. With a nice comfy chair and table for a great cup of tea you will have yourself one great spot to curl up and read (or blog). Sigh, it’s so neat!!

  46. says

    I first stumbled upon your blog because of adoption aspect of your interest, but I’ve got to admit I’m hooked by your design style too. I love the map and would love to snag a world map for my own house. We recently adopted 5 children from Ethiopia, I hope things go smoothly in the adoption department for your family.

  47. Tara G. says

    My h.s. French teacher had a poster of a little naked boy popping out of a world map that she got when she was home in France- not sure why, but we found it and would hang it on her classroom map so that when the next group came in for class, he’d roll down. :) I love the look in your room! :)

  48. Gloria McMahon says

    I saw the same chair (or very, very close to it) at Pier I today. I bet it is a little less than Pottery Barn!

  49. says

    I have a big map in my bedroom, too! My husband and I honeymooned in the Florida Keys and my cousin gave me a nautical chart of the Lower Keys as a sweet gift that Christmas. I cut it into 8×10 sections, framed them, reassembled the whole, and hung it on our wall!

  50. Matty says

    Oh I so agree with you on this.. I only decorate my house with things that make me smile.. It is the only way to roll.. Love your blog..

  51. says

    What a unique and “educational” piece to use in your bedroom. I will have to say, you are certainly the first person I have ever seen with that type of art in your bedroom. I can tell you this. It brought a smile to my face!! Keep on going with the “grin”. It works wonderfully for you!

  52. kathy h says

    Hi guys!

    I’m finally getting a chance to get caught up on your blog entries. YOur bedroom looks great, love the map, and I, too, have had that Pottery Barn Seagrass chair on my “want” list for awhile. I keep checking Craigslist for it. Believe it or not, found it listed on there once, but I was too late-someone had already bought it.. UGH@!

    I know you both have been VERY busy… so if you ever get time (I know, you’re laughing right now :-) ) I’d love to see a blog post on putting planks on cottage cheese ceilings. My hubby won’t try it until he sees you guys try it first (sorry!)

    Thanks for all the inspiration! HUGS!!

  53. says

    My thumbs up to decorating-that-makes-one-smile!!!! :)

    I love your map– as a child, my aunt had window shades that I played with and pretended they were pull-down maps like at school! ;) The PB wing style seagrass chair is dreamy– so appropriate for a bedroom!

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