choosing new floors

We’ve lived in our house for just over 8 years. It was new when we bought it, but too far along in the building process for us to make changes to fixtures, colors, finishes. One of the upgrades we would have made if given the choice would be to switch out the carpet on the main floor with hardwoods.

(photo from summer house tour seen here)

There are benefits to carpet – namely it’s softness – and it was great for when the babies were babies. But 8 years, four kids, a lot of walking back and forth on the same pathway and a puppy who was not the fastest potty-trainer later and the carpet is looking pretty dingy. We’ve wanted to replace it for forever and now we are finally ready to make the jump.

I ordered a handful of samples last week just to try out a couple of different looks.


I posted this picture to instagram asking for your favorite and the votes were totally split. Ryan and I agree (it’s a miracle!) on which one is our top choice, but before I tell you, let’s talk about each one and why it might be the right choice.

Actually, before we get into each specific option, a few things that might be helpful to know:

1. we’ll be pulling up all the existing floors throughout downstairs. The blonde maple has served us well and does a great job of hiding dirt, but it is nearly impossible to match if we were to continue it where the carpet is and honestly, if we’re going to spend the money on new floors, we’d rather choose what we like and blonde maple is not on that list.

2. this is not our forever house so we’re going for the best, most durable floor for the least amount of investment.

3. we’ve gone back and forth trying to decide what to do with the floors. Replace the carpet with new? Put in tile? Buy the cheapest floor and paint it? While each of those are fine options, we’ve landed on wood as the best option.

Okay, so here are our top choices:


I love the look of white floors. Always have and always will. Crisp glossy floors with white walls is fresh and such a clean canvas for doing life.


The white floor sample is nice, but not glossy and more of a creamy white than a white-white. I think if we were to really go for it with white floors, we would go the painted route (which is super impractical since you have to move out for weeks to let it cure). So this option is out.

This one is the darkest of the samples and we know how much of a pain dark can be for showing every speck of dirt and dust. In real life it actually looks more taupy-brown than dark dark brown.


The contrast of warm-dark floors and white walls is so appealing to my eye. If we go this route, we’ll repaint our walls white (which is next on the house to-do list anyway).


This choice has a great almost Scandinavian feel. It’s probably more brown than gray and a nice light/mid-tone that will hide dirt nicely.


There is still that warmth, but it’s toned down and less contrasty with white.


This gray floor sample received a ton of votes on IG and it really could look cool installed. It would give off a similar look to poured concrete (which would be a top contender if we were willing to invest more in redoing the floors).


This particular floor is engineered hardwood and doesn’t look as nice in person as it photographs. We’ve ruled this one out based on that.


My current house-crush is Dana’s from House Tweaking (that’s her kitchen below on the left). I like everything she does and her style is heavily influencing my desire to go a little more simple and modern in our home.


This traditional brown floor is what she has in her home. It’s a great medium brown – very classic and warm. It is also engineered, which we’re on the fence about.


So now we have to decide.

Just looking at the samples, both Ryan and I chose the dark gray/brown floor. It has a pretty warmth that looks great with our fireplace stone, the granite in the kitchen and will contrast nicely with all of our existing furniture. A close second (and it’s still in the running) is the light gray/brown. If we choosing only based on how easy it will be to keep clean, we would go with this one. I’m just not sure it offers enough contrast. And while the brown is a perfect medium brown, it goes just a little bit more traditional than we’d like. I think we need a more grayed tone to the wood.

I’d love to hear your thoughts … any pros or cons or warnings or encouragement? What’s your favorite?

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free hand-drawn halloween clip art

My No.3 and I were doodling yesterday and we got on the topic of Halloween. We had a little fun drawing a few not-too-spooky pictures which turned out so cute I decided to make them into clip art.


The kids love Halloween (what kid doesn’t?!) and I thoroughly enjoy the candy (fyi: four kids acquire a lot of trick-or-treat candy) but the overly scary stuff I can do without. So these doodles are mild and cutesy and would be super great for party invitations, gift tags, scrapbooking or as overlays for the annual kids-in-their-costumes photos.


Need a little help knowing how to use the graphics? No worries … I created this video about how to use clip art in illustrator that will help. And, of course, for even more detailed teaching our Simplified Graphic Design class is great.

Grab the clip art now with plenty of time to play with it before Halloween.


To download the clip art, log in or sign up for the archive – our library of free printables, fonts, templates and more. It only takes a second and you’ll have instant access to it all!

p.s. I’d love to see how you use these doodles … if you create something with the clipart, please post a photo on Instagram and tag me (@jonesdesigncompany) or email a photograph. Can’t wait to see what you make.

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The time I was going to show you how to make paper dahlias

I was joking with my family just the other day about how I use the word favorite quite liberally.


My favorite candy? Good & Plenties. Sour Patch Kids. Hot Tamales. Fruit Mentos. Twix if I’m feeling chocolaty.

Favorite color? Blue – all shades – or sometimes just the jeweled tones. Green. White – ah, I love white!. Gray.

My favorite season? Which ever one is up next.

See? Lot’s of favorites. Don’t try to stick me to only one from each category because I just can’t decide. There are just too many great things to choose between.

The same is true for types of flowers. My long-time favorite has been the hydrangea, but when peonies are in bloom, or lilacs or ranunculus each one becomes my new favorite.


And then this time of year rolls around and dahlias pop open and I forget how much I love their colors and shapes and variations. And they turn into my current favorite.


I was feeling so inspired by these farm-grown flowers that I thought I’d figure out how to recreate a paper version. I do have a thing for paper/fabric/tissue/crepe paper flowers.

I came across a few great tutorials – with templates even – and combined them with some methods of my own to create this pretty flower:


The plan was to share the tutorial with you, but here’s the thing: that one flower took me over an hour to make! 60 minutes for one little flower is just not a practical project. So I scraped the tutorial idea. I’m all for paper flowers, but I much prefer simple crafts to long, meticulous ones with lots of required precision cutting. If you have time to spare and meticulous cutting is your thing (or you have a fancy silhouette machine), here is the diy version I liked best.

So nevermind the dahlia tutorial I was planning on doing. It was great in theory, but this time around, I’ll just stick to looking at the real things. Dahlias are my favorite.


P.S. don’t make fun of me for liking good & plenty. I can’t help it.


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