A few simple tricks are all it takes to transform ho-hum home decor into magazine-worthy high design. Here, top interior gurus reveal their secrets for staging a stunning home fit for a double-page spread.

By Mariel Goodson


Float On


The key to creating a living room with fabulous flow? Float furniture away from walls rather than pushing it up against them, which “actually makes the space feel smaller,” says Simone Howell, an interior designer with Decorist.com. Moving heavy sofas and chairs can be hard labor, so consult Floorplanner.com to map out a mock-up before breaking a sweat.


Sofa, So Good


The most basic sofa can look photo-worthy if you decorate with the right throw pillows. The key? “Vary the sizes and shapes,” says Meridith Baer, host of Staged to Perfection and founder of Meridith Baer Home. A winning formula: a pair of matching 18- or 24-inch square pillows; a long rectangular pillow to anchor the center of the couch; then a pair of round pillows to break up the angles.


Sweet Dreams


To upgrade an average-looking bed, cover a down comforter and four Euro pillows in crisp white Egyptian cotton, then drape a chunky textured throw on the end. “Stick with whites and one or two accent pillows to avoid piling on clutter,” says Howell. Even better? Invest in a pillow-top mattress pad to get that fluffy, hotel-style under-layer.


Coffee Talk


A well-decorated coffee table completes a stylish living room. The secret? Arrange a collection of odd-numbered objects—three or five—with varying heights. Howell’s go-to grouping: “Fresh-cut flowers or a houseplant, a white candle to add atmosphere, and a personal accessory,” whether it’s a bone-inlay tray from your recent travels or your favorite photography book. “Coffee tables are also notorious catchalls, so hide utilitarian objects like TV remotes in decorative boxes,” she adds.


Hang Time


Instead of installing Roman shades inside your window frames, hang them three to four inches above the trim. Flank the shade with drapery panels hung at the same height and “you’ll trick the eye into thinking the ceilings are much higher, and the windows are much bigger,” says Howell.


  • Ground Control

    Choosing an area rug can be tricky as it needs to fit both the scale of the room and the furniture. Take Howell’s advice and pull out your measuring tape: “A rug should be no more than two feet and no less than six inches from the edges of the walls.” In the dining room, ensure the rug is large enough that all four chair-legs rest comfortably on top, that way no one’s teetering while trying to eat.


Mix Master


Mix and match prints like a pro by following the rule of three: First select a large-scale pattern with a variety of colors—like a vibrant floral—to use as your baseline. Second, pull in a medium-scale pattern like a stripe, which features three of those colors, then a small-scale geometric pattern with no more than two of those colors. “Everything has a common denominator which brings order to the look,” says Howell. Use large prints on big pieces like upholstered furniture, and more delicate prints on smaller items like accent lamps.



Do you long for that cozy country feel in your home? If you’re like me, there are days you wake up and dream your home has been replaced with a quaint, old Farmhouse.

Something historical, natural wood floors, wood beams, white washed pine furniture, climbing roses, huge porch…sounds wonderfully relaxing and romantic to me!

Not to say I don’t love my home, but there is something in me, maybe I was a “farm girl” in my past life, but I have always longed for a farmhouse.

I have decided that you don’t need to live in a barn or on a farm to embrace country charm — if you are a ‘country’ dreamer like me — and want to inject that charm into your home, take a look at these ideas for your farmhouse decor.













Once you start setting up a new home, chances are good you’ll discover lots of pesky empty wall space that needs filling. I love browsing galleries for original art, but I admit that extra step of contacting them for availability and prices often stops me in my tracks (as do the price tags themselves). I love sites that give it to me straight.

We’ve done lists of online art resources before, but it’s never too soon for another round up. The following ten websites fall somewhere between sites that sell affordable prints, and galleries with artwork that lists in the thousands. If you’re just starting a collection, this is a great place to start.


Etsy: Look for both new and vintage works are here. It’s a bit daunting at first, but once you start working your way through listings, there’s no doubt you’ll find something you like and can afford. Don’t forget to mark your favorites for later.


Buy Some Damn Art: Started by Art Hound blogger Kate Singleton. Each Tuesday she introduces a new selection of exclusive pieces from up-and-coming artists.


Lumas: Hand-signed limited edition photographs, with a special section for young artists new to the art scene.


Sebastian Foster: Sebastian Foster offers contemporary art from his Austin-based gallery. He also runs Poster Cabaret.


Lost Art Salon: A fine art collection of over 7,000 works from the 20th Century. Most paintings are priced under $1,000 and most likely come framed.

Don’t forget to check your local vintage and antique shops, they often have interesting originals!

Have fun!


Choosing the perfect front door can be a daunting decision. Just how much color is too much? According to HGTV’s Curb Appeal and Curb Appeal: The Block designer and architect John Gidding, color is the key to a welcoming front entry space.




Whether using stain or paint, don’t be afraid to branch out of your comfort zone with your front door.

Still not ready to embrace a bold new color? Style and architectural design are also key elements to the perfect front door.


From twinkling porch lighting to majestic door molding, the front entry area of a home is crucial to charming curb appeal. Use your front door as a way to enhance the overall style of your home.


Whether your home is a Spanish hacienda, Georgian mansion or charming cottage, choose a front door that suits the style for crave-worthy curb appeal.


There is no question that a front door can be an asset to your home’s curb appeal and add that certain “je ne sais quoi” to the appeal for a buyer. But remember, it is just like a well dressed person; it is not just the front door, it is the whole package that makes the picture perfect.


House Doctor

Danish brand House Doctor just sent some sneak peeks from their next collection, the Fall/Winter 14/15





Danish brand House Doctor just sent some sneak peeks from their next collection, the Fall/Winter 14/15, but I feel I’m not quite ready for those seasons yet… While I was browsing their site I found these images though, that feel more suitable at the moment with some great summer inspiration! Light and simplicity, natural wood against white, and a few green plants to bring summer inside. Anyone know the name of that tall slender plant in the first picture?





Liberty Heritage Fabrics

Liberty Heritage Fabrics for interiors, particularly the Jubilee and Nesfield collection, so I have to share a few fave looks below with you today. Just look at these rich, moody and well, decadent fabrics (there is wallpaper too! Swoon!). I’d love to work on an interiors project incorporating these beauties. Perhaps my own home? I have some ideas…






AFTER…..& before!

This house had a complete renovation….from top to bottom! With a front and rear addition AND complete new second floor. See the before shots of this section of the home…..

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Gallery Wall / Salon Wall

Why limit yourself to one piece of art when you can fill a whole wall with it? Creating an art gallery wall in your home to transform it into a stylish place to live is an ambitious and achievable design project, all you need to know is where to start.



Why limit yourself to one piece of art when you can fill a whole wall with it? Creating an art gallery wall in your home to transform it into a stylish place to live is an ambitious and achievable design project, all you need to know is where to start. Surround your home with large collections of art and photographs that will add style and color to your walls.


It always makes a big impact visually and can be accomplished even on a small budget, if you’re creative. If you don’t have any art collections for a gallery wall, try picking up some unique finds at flea markets, auctions, yard sales, craigslist and mix them with a few key pieces that you have purchased from a store or from travels.



You can also use old calendars and magazine photos and frame them, or pictures that you have taken and increase their size and have them framed.


If you don’t want to pay for expensive framing, there are plenty of inexpensive options such as using an old window to frame objects.



Wall art….photos….paintings….everything goes.



So calming and simple in a refined way. Unstained light wood for floors and furniture, raw wood ceiling, paneled walls, white, stone and earth colours. The unexpected textures of a timeworn Belgian dining table that looks best set for a casual meal. Wineglasses, bowls, and pewter pitcher add a lived-in European romance. Casual elegance……a style that we love.


Simple, warm and cozy…..


…never boring, always inviting.


Just the perfect amount of “antique”.


Unfinished floors, welcoming their patina.


Linen slip covers, surprisingly practice.  The more they are worn the better they look.


Elements of surprise….a paint brush!


Old rustic table, with luxurious velvet chairs…stunning.



Mohair throw….stone floors….


Large floor pillows, stone walls, rustic floors…….ahhhh LOVE this style!

Lovely and Quaint Cottage Decorating Ideas


Quaint Sitting Area

Planks from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore line the sitting-room ceiling in this renovated cottage. The homeowner was inspired to turn cow-feed sifters found at the Round Top Antiques Fair into artful sconces with burlap fringe.


Sunny Breakfast Nook

This New York cottage‘s beadboard-panelled breakfast nook features Eames chairs bought at a Brooklyn stoop sale and a farm table the owner made with salvaged wood.


Vibrant Bedroom

In the master bedroom of this Catskills home, sunny-yellow paint and an exuberant green-and-white print enlivens the small space. The low-pitched roof created a seemingly unusable three-foot-high gap on each side of the room. A carpenter was contracted to fill one side with bookshelves, and the other with cabinets and storage drawers.


Vintage Bathroom

This bathroom of a Maine country cottage boasts a circa-1900 amoeba etching; a cut-paper image of Mao Tse-tung; and a pen-and-ink drawing by a friend. Equally alluring: the cast-iron radiator from Architectural Antiques.


Rustic Living Room

While this Connecticut cottage’s living room’s upholstered furniture is white, the sofa and chairs are also purposefully deconstructed, with tufted fronts and exposed burlap-and-wood backs. A settee and two armchairs by Restoration Hardware cozy up to a Zentique coffee table. The boat propeller and oil paintings are secondhand scores.


By: Country Living

4 Uncommon Indoor Plants

Tovah Martin, author of The Unexpected Houseplant, proves that when gardening indoors, you don’t need much to grow.

Tovah Martin, author of The Unexpected Houseplant, proves that when gardening indoors, you don’t need much to grow.

By Kelly Phillips Badal


This little known succulent deserves to take American living rooms by storm,” says Tovah Martin. Why? Kalanchoe thyrsiflora‘s wavy, red-tipped leaves read as one massive bloom—one whose striking looks last year-round. “It’s also practically unkillable,” Martin adds. She put the low-maintenance plant on a pedestal, in a footed, galvanized metal urn. To ensure proper drainage, place a layer of pebbles and activated charcoal in the bottom of your container before filling it with potting soil; then let the soil dry out a bit between waterings.



Most gardeners think of vines as outdoor athletes, ready to be trained up exterior fences and walls. But climbers can also soften windows inside, so long as you provide them with something to scale (a few nails and fishing wire will do the trick). Martin planted her Passiflora caerula—which ofers “comely foliage plus tricked-out petals and sepals”—in a shallow terra-cotta pot, then topped it with an upside-down vintage egg basket that acts as a tendril jungle gym.


Salad Burnet

Expand your kitchen-herb vocabulary beyond the usual parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme with this green’s crisp, cool cucumber flavor. Says Martin, “Sanguisorba minor is idea for cramped spaces, because it exists in a kind of suspended animation, never growing too big or tall.” She gave the plant a dreamy yet practical home by lining a bird’s nest with plastic and setting it on a cake platter to watch rogue water droplets.


Staghorn Fern

A botanical oddity akin to taxidermy, Platycerium bifurcatum‘s scraggy center leaves give way to antler-like fronds—the “staghorns” of its name. “My guests literally stop and stare at this weird, architectural specimen,” says Martin. “Surprisingly, it’s a cinch to care for.” An epiphyte (a plant that grows non-parasitically on another plant or object), this fern wants little more than something solid to grip and a natural medium, such as moss or bark. For Martin, that meant sheet moss placed in a wicker basket with an iron pedestal base—now almost completely engulfed. “I carry my staghorn outside weekly for a watering, and it thrives in my hallway’s indirect light,” she says.

‘neo naturalist interior’

The ‘neo naturalist interior’ is creeping into design magazines and shop catalogues everywhere! I know it’s not for everyone, but let me tell you it is super interesting and if you are the type that needs to be surrounded by inspiration this is the look for you.



The ‘neo naturalist interior’ is creeping into design magazines and shop catalogues everywhere!  I know it’s not for everyone, but let me tell you it is super interesting and if you are the type that needs to be surrounded by inspiration this is the look for you.  It’s part laboratory with a light dusting of Victorian details tossed in for good measure. There is pure nostalgia associated with the neo naturalist interior and if this is the style you desire this is how you can achieve it.  First there is the antique ceiling lights in industrial metals like brass and bronze, which were usually found during the industrial revolution. Then, those elements are paired with warm glowing filament bulbs that offer an antique glow to everything. Then add some little details, romantic touches like butterflies in cloche (those blown glass bell-shaped domes), and before you know it your home can have the look of a Nineteenth Century botanist. It’s a fascinating look, combining rough and tumble masculine metal and scientific elements with more domesticated touches for comfort. This style is perfect for offices, libraries and even kitchens.  It’s easy….add factory-grade metal, warm wood, leather, antiques, and interesting artifacts I like to call ‘curiosities’….honestly,  the sky is the limit with this design.




Introducing the SIDEBOARD

I have a little addiction….to sideboards. One of the most treasured pieces of furniture I own is a 19th century french oak sideboard. It lives in my dining room, which traditional would house a sideboard.


I have a little addiction….to sideboards.  One of the most treasured pieces of furniture I own is a 19th century french oak sideboard.  It lives in my dining room, which traditional would house a sideboard.  But, I have a few more….a vintage 1950’s pieces which I picked up in a junk shop for pennies, it is in my guest room. Nothing makes a statement in your home quite like a perfectly styled sideboard. Designs from the 50s and 60s came in beautiful woods ranging from rosewood and teak to maple and cherry, and were intended to be used for storing ‘best’ china and tableware. These wonderful pieces came with drawers for cutlery and table linen, how perfect!  Mine contain a more eclectic assortment of ‘stuff’, I must admit I am a little guilty of using it to quickly tidy clutter away out of sight whenever I’m expecting visitors.

My favourite thing to do with them is to group together and display books, artwork, vases, lamps and other objects. They are a great place to start a wonderful art collection or displaying articles from travels.







Sideboard_styling_with_brass_and Marble


Weekday Carnival sideboard

Vintage Wrought Iron Furniture Durable and classic…built to last!

Long prized for its sturdiness and craftsmanship, wrought-iron outdoor furniture is bent and hammered into shape by hand — unlike mold-made cast-iron items, whose parts are bolted together (and whose seams are sometimes visible).




Blacksmiths  popularized wrought iron during the 1920s, and it remained in vogue until the Eisenhower era, when lighter, cheaper, rust-proof aluminum caught on.




Look for nicely rounded wire ends and sturdy tables that don’t shake, as well as substantial curvy feet that won’t sink into the grass.



Classic retro mesh chairs….absolutely gorgeous!

A retro revival has been in the works for several years, and now it’s made it way to the patio in full force. We love the vibrant colors and nostalgic edge of these cheery garden sets. They make us think of lazy Sunday BBQs and old fashion lawn games. Lucky for us, there are many options to choose from.


You see them everywhere, those bulbous, narrow-necked bottles that are all the rage in home decor today. They are called carboys or demijohns (the old word that formerly referred to any glass vessel with a large body and small neck, enclosed in wicker).

demi john 12

demi john 9



You see them everywhere, those  bulbous, narrow-necked bottles that are all the rage in home decor today. They are called carboys or demijohns (the old word that formerly referred to any glass vessel with a large body and small neck, enclosed in wicker). They are primarily used for transporting fluids, often water or chemicals and can hold from 5-15 gallons. They are also used for in-home fermentation of beer or wine.  These handsome jars, alot of which are vintage, can be found on eBay and Etsy, and are great for collectors.  They offer a bit of charm and hominess when used to decorate a home. They work wonderfully for a casual beach inspired or rustic interior or even an industrial chic or shabby chic setting. But they can be incorporated into your decor no matter what your personal design aesthetic is.  They can be found in fabulous shades of greens, blues and clear glass. I especially love when demijohns are arranged in groupings of at least three, and when an arrangement is made up of several different colors.  You can opt to collect authentic, vintage demijohns or  grab a new one in a home decor shop.

So if starting a demijohn collection is your thing…..there are many options available and great ways to incorprate them into your decor!


What is it that we love about antiquing? Everything from the treasure hunt, to the find, to getting a great deal …..





What is it that we love about antiquing?  Everything from the treasure hunt, to the find, to getting a great deal on the item down to the smell of a room filled with treasure.  There is just something about an object from another time which captures our attention.  How a simple material object can grab us by the heart strings and take us back to when we were children at grandma’s house is magic in and of itself.  Antiques can tell us stories of how life was for our ancestors and how life used to be for us.