Category Archives: DIY

Garden Style | A Succulent Centerpiece

Succulents are some of the most striking and uniquely beautiful plants out there.

The plants themselves are stunning, even without a flower. They’re perfect for containers and patio gardens and can easily be used to create centerpieces, wreaths, and arrangements. To top it all off, they’re easy to grow and maintain. No wonder they’re all the rage!

Container gardens are great for small spaces and are super versatile. They make the perfect accent to a patio set or bench, they’re beautiful clustered on the front stoop for a welcoming decor touch, and can even be used as a centerpiece for gatherings and dinner parties.

I’ve been inspired by some of the low-profile pots and planters I’ve seen recently, and decided to create a succulent container garden to use on my patio table as a centerpiece. A garden on a tabletop? What a conversation piece. Yes please!

Styling + Creating a Succulent Centerpiece

Step 1 | Find a planter

Find a planter or low-profile dish that’s the size and shape you prefer. Succulent plants are so bold and gorgeous. To allow the plants room to shine, try going with a planter that’s neutral in color. Neutral tones are also easy to work into any decor style. I found this low-profile wooden vessel at Home Goods. I couldn’t resist the organic texture and form of the wood. Gorgeous, neutral, earthy, and perfectly suited to my style and taste.

How to Create a Succulent Container Garden Arrow+Sage/Design Lines Raleigh NC


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Step 2 | Gather plants

Local to the Raleigh/Cary/Durham area? I found loads of gorgeous succulent beauties at both Logan’s and Fairview Garden Center. Hard to decide which plants I ‘needed’ so badly for this project. They were all so gorgeous. And to be honest, I have so many plants already. Maybe too many. But this project was a good excuse for new ones.

I ended up going with some echeveria, sedum, and an aloe.

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{Tip} When selecting plants for any arrangement or container, try to find something with some height, something trailing, and then some shorter, ground-hugging plants to fill in. Keep your plant selection to three to five varieties, depending on the size of your planter.

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Aloe ferox or ‘Fierce Aloe’

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Echeveria ‘Lola’

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‘Blue Spruce’ sedum

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Echeveria pulidonis

Step 3 | Drainage

If the planter you’ve selected doesn’t have drainage holes, put some gravel (easily found at your local garden center) in the bottom of the planter. This helps the soil drain properly, and prevents the roots of your plants from sitting in pools of water.

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Step 4 | The dirt

When planting succulents, go for a potting soil designed specifically for these plants. They like soil that drains and dries quickly. Miracle-Gro has a great option that I use for all of my succulent plants. Once selected, add the dirt to your planter. Fill it about 3/4 full, and save some to add after the plants are arranged.

Step 5 | Plant

The fun part! Try different things and see what you like best! For an aesthetically pleasing arrangement, I place tall plants in the center or back of the planter, trailing plants toward the front or spilling over the edges, and then fill in with smaller plants.

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After arranging your plants, gently add more soil around the base of the plant stems, and pack the soil around the base of each plant. And as a rule of thumb, always water any new planting to settle the soil in around the roots of your plants.

And voila!

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A beautiful succulent container garden, perfect as a patio table centerpiece.


Images and Content by: Arrow+Sage

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DIY- Overdyed Rug


Have you seen the overdyed rugs currently flooding the home decor market?  It’s hard to resist the bright, saturated colors and unique character of these rugs!   Several years ago, I was given a 50 year-old wool rug with a traditional oriental design, but the old-school navy blue & maroon color scheme just wasn’t doing anything for me.

I needed something fresh and new, but I wasn’t ready to buy a new rug — And that’s how I decided to try a DIY approach to overdying my rug.


***A note of caution: the dyes and chemicals below can be harmful and you should only perform the following steps in a well-ventilated area while wearing a respirator.


Supplies you’ll need:

1. A 100% wool rug.

2. Long rubber gloves and a respirator.

3. For Rugs 6ft x 9ft or smaller,  buy the largest plastic storage bin you can find.  If your rug is larger, you’ll probably need something much bigger.  For my 9ft x 12ft rug, I used a collapsible pool from Home Depot.

4. A bucket heater (to keep the dying solution warm).  Jon-Don Chemical supply is a great source.

5. Thiox and Soda Ash from Pro Chemical.  This if for bleaching your rug.  How much you need to use depends on the amount of wool in your rug.  As a rule of thumb, you will need 10grams of thiox and 10grams of soda ash in 10L of water for each pound of wool.  However, if you rug is dark (like mine) you may need up to twice as much to remove enough of the original color.   More detailed instructions on these products can be found here.

6. Acid Dye and Citric Acid from Dharma Trading Company.  Again, the amount you need depends on how much wool you are dying.  I used 3tsp of “Brilliant Yellow” dye and 1tsp of citric acid per pound of wool and got a good result.

7. Synthrapol (a detergent) from Dharma Trading Company.  Follow the directions on the bottle for how much to use based on the volume of solution.


Here’s what to do:

1. Fill container with water, soak and rinse your rug.  Then drain water.

2. Fill container with clean water and synthrapol detergent.  Move the rug around to wash it.

3. Rinse the rug again.  Put it aside.

4. Fill container with water again, and using the bucket heater, warm water to 130-140 degrees, or as hot as you can get it.

5.  Add Thiox, Soda Ash, and rug to the container.  Agitate thoroughly for up to 30 minutes.  You’ll see the dye begin to come out of the rug and into the water.

6.Let the solution work for about 30 minutes, then add more Thiox and Soda Ash as needed.  Soak for another 30 minutes or longer until much of the color from the rug is gone.  The rug will never bleach completely, but that’s OK.  The underlying design will remain an interesting part of your rug.

6. Rinse the rug in water.  This is how mine looked at this stage:

7. Repeat the above steps, but use your Acid Dye and Citric Acid instead of Thiox and Soda Ash.  It is a good idea to first mix the dye in a separate container with a gallon of boiling water before adding to your rug.  The dying solution should be kept as warm as possible with the bucket heater — but make sure not to leave the bucket heater unattended at any time.  You can let the rug sit in the dye solution overnight for the most brilliant color.  You can also add salt, which some say helps to exhaust the dye solution.

8. Drain the rug, then wash with Synthrapol.

9. Rinse the rug thoroughly to remove all excess dye.  You may need to wash with Synthrapol a second time.

10.  Hang the rug to dry.

11. Enjoy your new rug!!


After two days of hard work and about $175 in supplies, your rug will have a new look that you’ll enjoy for years to come!

Let us know how your DIY overdye rug turns out in the comments section below.


Good Luck!



image 1: lahidesign.com

image 2: pinterest.com

all other images by Design Lines Ltd.

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How to Accessorize Bookshelves (A Lesson From the Chancellor’s House)

A large empty bookcase can be intimidating.  What combination of books and objects should you use to make it look its best?  The Chancellor’s house at NCState is a great case study in how to make your shelves look amazing.



In the Chancellor’s Study, we used a combination of books, small framed artwork, and decorative objects to create a sophisticated display worthy of a distinguished university.  The photographs of native plant species were taken from the University’s archive, and reference the Chancellor’s own background in botanical science.


Books in warm tans and browns were chosen to complement the masculine palette of the room.  We tried to make the bookcase look natural and organic, but without totally eschewing symmetry.  We also placed books in other places around the room for continuity and interest.


In the family room, we were looking for something more graphic, so we chose a different palette.  Bright red books and colorful glass art punctuate the white bookshelves.  In this room, the shelves are arranged in square cubbies, which are great for displaying individual works of art.

We took a different approach to the books in this room, stacking them both vertically and horizontally to add some interest.  In some cases, we even turned the books around, hiding their binding at the back, and giving a whole different look.



What’s your favorite trick for arranging bookcases?


Images: 1 3 & 6. DLL    2 , 4 & 5 –  Photography by Dustin Peck Photography Images courtesy NC State University. All rights reserved.

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A Closer Look: The RDU Tech Shop

On Wednesday, I took my first class in MIG Welding at the RDU Tech Shop in Durham.  MIG welding is a type of welding that uses an electric current and shielding gas to create strong bonds in mild steel.  It’s an easy, versatile method that can be used in making furniture, sculpture, or almost anything else you can imagine.  I’m excited to use my new skills in the shop.

How to Weld - MIG Welding

But the Tech Shop offers a lot more than just metal working; if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to sew, make a birdhouse, or cut 3″ thick steel with a plasma CNC machine, this is your place.   The Tech Shop has a wood-working shop, metal shop, computer-controlled milling machines, laser cutters, sewing machines, lathes, and more.   They also offer a wide selection of classes to get you up-to-speed on most of the equipment — and everyone is welcome, no matter your skill level.

If you have a do-it-yourself project you’ve been meaning to do, chances are the Tech Shop can help.  Happy welding!




image 1 & 2: instructables.com

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Book Giveaway: Winner Announced!

The signed copy of Grace Bonney’s Design*Sponge at Home book goes to…



Congratulations to Beth!!  She shared that this isn’t the only book she’s hoping to get for Christmas, “I have really wanted this book, but there are a lot of other design books this year that I also want ~ Patina Style, Meghan’s Method, etc.”

Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway!

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Book Giveaway: Design*Sponge at Home!

We were thrilled to share a signed copy of the Design*Sponge at Home book with one of our readers!  It has been one of the best interior design books to come out this year.  If you’ve followed the blog, you know what I’m talking about!  The book has some of the same features but even better spaces and projects!  

Brittany got to meet the author Grace Bonney when she was in the Raleigh area for her book signing at Anthropologie

You’re sure to love all of the sneak peaks of homes featured in the book.  They showcase homes of some very interesting people, like TLC star Genevieve Gorder (you may recognize her from Trading Spaces or her new show Dear Genevieve.)

 And of course they include a how-to guide with a multitude of DIY projects, giving you all the instructions (including a supply list).

And get inspired by the before and after photos of fascinating projects that others have completed!  My favorite section is the flower workshop, showing you how to construct gorgeous arrangements right at home.

We know you’ll love it!  Or if you’re searching for gifts for friends and family, it would be the perfect gift for someone on your list!


1. Leave a comment on this post letting us know your favorite book that you’d like to give or get this year.  (Simply click on the comment link in the taupe box just under the title of this post.)

2. Share this contest via Facebook!  Be sure to mention Design Lines Limited in the post so that it shows up on our page as well.

3. Share this contest via Twitter by tweeting: RT to enter the @DesignSponge at Home Book Giveaway from @DesignLinesLtd for a chance to win through 12/22! Details – http://www.designlinesltd.com

Doing any of these will enter you in the contest, and completing all three will give you three chances to win!   The winner will be announced on our blog at noon on Friday, December 23rd.  You have until midnight on the 22nd to get your entry in!  We will select the winner at random and contact you to send the book your way.  Good luck!

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12 Days of Christmas: Trimming the Tree!

The possibilities are endless!  Aside from traditional ornaments, you can use almost anything to decorate your tree.  As you finalize your holiday decor, take a look at our guide for trimming your tree below.  (And be thankful that your tree isn’t 75′ tall like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree shown above!)

Establish your Color Scheme

While red and green are the traditional colors used, with the right touch, you can make any scheme festive! 

When working with red, green, and white ornaments, you might consider adding in an unexpected element – like the ice skates and mittens hung in the tree to the above right.  And instead of a tree skirt, you could plant your tree in an urn, planter, or bucket (above left).


White ornaments really pop against the green pine branches.  I think the key to pulling off this look is to use a mixture of metallic ornaments with the white.  For a wintry look, you could consider covering your tree in snow!  Simply lay strips of cotton batting over the branches and sprinkle with crystal snow. 

In a modern or kid’s space, you might even consider getting a white treeColorful ornaments stand out against the white branches.  For a more traditional look, incorporating bold ornaments into your pine tree can help tie the color scheme of your room into your holiday decor.

DIY Ornaments

To get just the look you want, consider making some of your ornaments.   

Clear glass ball ornaments are so easy to personalize!  Fill them with a snowy scene, like the one above, or insert faux berries, feathers, confetti, glitter, or anything else to make them perfect for your tree!  You can even pour a bit of paint inside them and swirl it around to get ornaments in just the right color.  For another interesting touch, think about setting objects into the tree branches.  One of the white trees above uses birdhouses.  Branches of berries, feathers, lanterns, and even picture frames become great accessories!

The ornaments on the above left were created by covering Styrofoam balls with paper cut with a circle punch.  (Just behind the ornaments, notice the ordinary gold chain used as garland!)  Thread a needle through ribbon to create elegant ornaments in any color!

And lastly, as shown on the tree at the Natural History Museum in NYC, origami animals bring an aesthetic that any kid would love!  Folded paper can take on nearly any shape you’d like.  If you’re up for a little DIY, these ornaments can add just the right touch to your tree.

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12 Days of Christmas: Wreath DIY

Pinned Image

Wreaths are a classic decoration that can also be a great DIY project for the whole family.  You can even use clippings from your yard as the raw material.  Collect feathers, leaves, small twigs or holly branches, and follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Form a wire hanger into a circle, leaving the hook in place as a convenient way to hang your wreath.

Step 2: Using florist wire, create a bundle of leaves or branches and attach it to the hanger.  Layer new bundles on top of the previous one until the hanger is fully covered.

Step 3: Add a bow or pinecones as a finishing touch, and hang your wreath somewhere special.

Pinned Image

Happy Decorating!


images 1 & 4: pinterest

images 2, 3, 4 : save on crafts

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DIY: Quick Fixes with Paint that Really Make a Difference!

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again – paint can completely transform a space!  Take a look at several projects below to see the power of paint.

Red valances on top of red walls just weren’t cutting it in this dining room!  When this family moved into their new home in Cary, I advised them to adjust the wall color to make the room their own.  We selected Benjamin Moore’s Mocha Brown #2107-20 for the walls and removed the valances.  While we kept a dark color on the walls, the room’s wainscotting and the rug’s light background add contrast.

Before, the brick surround was painted, but the hearth was ignored.  And with everything a shade of white, the details disappeared.  Although the ultimate idea is to tile the surround and hearth, for now we painted the brick Sherwin Williams’ Quiver Tan #6157.  The walls also needed depth, and we wanted to highlight the best features of the room.  By going with a deeper color on the walls (Sherwin Williams’ Nomadic Desert #6107) and painting the built-ins white, the fireplace really pops!

Here’s one of my favorite paint transformations.  With their second child on the way, this family needed to turn their guest bedroom into a room for their growing toddler.  Who would have thought that the furniture could look so different!  The red color takes the classic paneled bed and makes it perfect for a young boy.  For a similar look, try Benjamin Moore’s Million Dollar Red #2003-10. 

The nightstands got a paint treatment as well – but going red would have been too much.  A nice coat of white keeps things bright, and changing the hardware really set the tone!  The new knobs are from Anthropologie and can be seen here.  (You can find pictures of the completed space here.)

And his old nursery needed to make way for a new baby brother.  A few changes brought a whole new feel – the bead board and trim were painted blue instead of the walls.  And a bright pop of orange was introduced, see below.

Childs cubby storage painted orange

Paint can be used in many ways.  It can cover a dated finish and make a piece trendy again, add a pop of color, and even determine the mood of a space.  With so many applications, the hardest part is knowing what color to choose.  Let us know if we can help!

– Lauren

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