Designer Patrice Bevans answers our kitchen style and storage questions! Be sure to check out her upcoming story in our August issue.
1. What are your favorite kitchen storage tricks?
Hiding items in plain site is one trick. I like creatively displaying items that are used on a daily basis so that they are easy to reach. For instance, keeping oils, vinegars, spices, and even wine for cooking on a pretty tray next to the stove makes cooking more efficient. If space allows and the tray is large enough, I nestle a container of highly used tools on the tray as well. If displayed properly and kept tidy, this looks handsome in a working kitchen. Or, for people who have a large collection of platters or baskets for serving, hanging these on walls or displaying in open shelving in a well-styled way gives a kitchen a greater sense of efficiency and a warm, inviting look. The space above a fridge is a great spot for this. Open it up and make a wonderful display space for baskets and serving pieces. It adds a lot of personality to a kitchen while providing much-needed storage space.
2. What are some easy ways to incorporate color?
A fun way to introduce some color and visual interest is to hang dinner-size plates in bright colors on the wall along the backsplash area between the countertops and the upper cabinets. This adds some fun texture on an otherwise overlooked area of the kitchen. Hang the plates close to one another and really create some visual rhythm. I prefer solid colored plates for maximum impact.
3. What are some easy kitchen updates that you’d recommend?
Try glass fronts on a few cupboards and create a display area for dishes or glassware. You can even remove the cabinet doors all together, finish the interiors by patching the holes from the hinges and shelf brackets, then paint a complementary color to the rest of the kitchen. This creates an open storage niche or an open place for cookbooks.
If you have a sink that does not have the advantage of being placed under a window, you can place a mirror above the sink where the window would be. The mirror should be generously sized spanning from close to countertop to underneath the upper cabinets (if you have some there). The mirror will brighten up the space and add a little animation to a usually hard-to-decorate space. The same trick works over a stove in place of a traditional backsplash; just be prepared to clean it often! I have found some good mirrors for this sort of application from Ballard Designs.
4. When would a cozy banquette work in a kitchen?
There are two spaces in a kitchen where I like to place built-in banquettes. A banquette built into a corner can add two or three extra places to sit when space is tight whereas trying to squeeze a few extra chairs around a table in a small space makes the corner crowded and hard to navigate. A chair can only be pushed so far into a corner and only allows one place to sit, but a banquette built into a corner provides seating for at least two and sometimes three people depending on who you are seating (adults vs. children). I love building in a bench or a long hall such as a “through-way” to a back door.
5. There are many choices of tile (and cabinet hardware!) How do you recommend zeroing in on the best options?
Both tile and hardware lean one of two ways: They are either traditional or modern. Decide which direction you are taking your kitchen and you already cut the choices down by more than half. I prefer the kitchen be a reflection of the house and its architecture, so if the rest of your house is more on the traditional side, lean toward traditional tiles and hardware. You don’t want to shove a modern kitchen into a traditional space. I think it creates a disconnect with the flow of the house.
6. What’s worth the splurge in a kitchen?
I think good quality countertops are worth the money you spend on them. They can last through many renovations and kitchen updates if you choose wisely.
I also think good lighting is worth the investment. Task lighting includes the recessed cans in the ceiling; add lights to the underside of your upper cabinets to better illuminate the counter top and work spaces.
7. Where can you save money?
I don’t think that you have to invest in custom drawer and cabinet accessories to maximize your storage space. No question, there are instances where the more expensive cabinet systems are exactly the right choice. However, I find that you can “over-customize” to a point where you decrease the kitchen’s flexibility and ability to make updates easy. So I like to save money by using ready-made liners in drawers and shelves where it makes sense. I’ve used a great modular storage system made of bamboo to organize drawers. The utensil drawers expand and contract, so they can be sized to work in your drawers; they can stack in deeper drawers; they have small cubes and oblong boxes to store a myriad of different cooking tools. I love this system from Container Store. It is economical, but works brilliantly and looks chic.
Hello friends! A favorite trend I’m enjoying right now: “Museums” on the wall. In fact, I have quite a few butterflies already on my walls at home. I photographed these butterflies from my collection to share with you. Now you can make your very own butterfly wall art! Just print the images out to your desired size, and put your butterflies in a favorite set of frames!
I’m really enjoying this shadow box styled Ribba frame, from IKEA. It’s already matted with a 4″ x 4″ opening, a perfect size for the butterfly prints I’ve made for you. Just trim the extra paper, pop it in the frame, hang, and enjoy!
Another idea: If you want to get a little more creative, how about cutting the butterfly out, bending it a little (for a 3D look), then glue onto white paper?
To print, just click on the links below and right-click save. All butterfly images are for personal-use only.
Enjoy! And, please let us know if you create this for yourself.
Frames: RIBBA Frames, from IKEA, $9.99
- Chelsey, The Paper Mama
Spotted! A trio of tree stumps standing in for a coffee table.
A tree stump table is always a great addition to a room, but a grouping of them is especially fantastic. There are a lot of trees out there to choose from, and you can find one (or more!) of your own from Real Wood Works’ Etsy shop.
Hi! Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook here! I’m a decorator and blogger out of NYC (check me out in this month’s BHG!). I’m pretty embarrassed to share that I get the itch to redecorate one of my rooms within, oh, about a minute of finishing. It’s not one of my best traits, though I like to think of it more as an occupational hazard. To keep my spending habits in check, I’ve learned a great trick over the years for how to keep a room fresh for not a lot of money and hardly any amount of time or effort. The secret lies in new pillows.
It seems dramatic to say, but pillows can really make or break a room for me. A pair of perfectly patterned, colorful cushions can transform even the most drab beige sofa out there. Usually you can find a great pillow without too much trouble for less than $30, although of course it’s easy to spend more too, if you’re looking for something extra special. Also, it goes without saying that if you’re crafty with a sewing machine, for just the cost of a yard of fabric and a zipper, you can have a brag-worthy new cushion.
Sometimes my clients and readers get overwhelmed with the choices of fabrics and pillows out on the market. I totally get it. There are so many considerations and so many options. Here’s a really quick way to narrow down the field and add instant interest to your living room. If your walls are painted in the cooler color family (grays, blues, bluey-green, purple) try a pillow in a contrasting color like red, orange or yellow. If your walls are white, try contrasted with the color of your sofa fabric.
1 – Charlotte Pillow, Home Decorators Collection, $45 – 2 – Beetle Pillow, Grandin Road $39 – 3 – Floral Block Print Pillow, Lands End $23.99 – 4 – Yellow Ikat Silk Pillow, $45 – 5 – Finishing Flourish Pillow, Anthropologie – $98 - 6 – Embroidered Stripe Pillow, Lands End, $17.99 – 7 – Chili Pepper Ikat Pillow – World Market, $24.99 – 8 – Hot Pink Batik Pillow, Fabricadabra, $28 – 9 - Peachy Gold Suzani Pillow, Amber Interiors Shoppe, $110 – 10 – Adelle Pillow, Home Decorators Collection – $37 - 11 – Bright Pink Border Pillow, Furbish, $75
If your walls are painted a warmer tone, like yellow, brown, tan, orange, or rusty red, go with a set of pillows is a cool shade. Something with a lot of blue.
1 – Medallion Green Ikat Pillow, Wisteria, $29, 2 – Signature Border Pillow, Caitlin Wilson Textiles, $50 - 3 – Turquoise Cut Velvet Damask Pillow, Pier1, $29.95 – 4 – French Crewel Pillow, Wisteria, $59 – 5 – Ikat Diamond Pillow, West Elm, $24 – 6 – Coup Clover Pillow, $14.95 – 7 – Turquoise and Lime Stripe Pillow, World Market, $11.89 – 8 – Painted Dot Pillow, Lands End, $17.99 – 9 - Blue Double Ruffle Pillow, World Market, $$26.99 – 10 – Alexis Pillow, Crate and Barrel, $19.95 – 11 – Ikat Dot Pillow, WS Home, $59
And of course, if you’re not into colorful decor like I am, the new pillow trick still works and will give you a whole new appreciation for your living room’s old decor. Also, these more neutral choices below are great for mixing in with a pair of punchier pillows, like the options above.
1 – Kelby pillow, Crate and Barrel, $18.95 – 2 – South Street Pillow, Burke Decor, $60 – 3 – Squares Pillow, Burke Decor, $100 – 4 – Gray and Yellow Herringbone Pillow – World Market, $24.99 - 5 – Adeline Pillow, Burke Decor, $60 – 6 – Paradise Pillow, Home Decorators Collection, $33 - 7 – Chambray Stripe Pillow, West Elm, $14.99 – 8 – Black Tie Dye Pillow, Furbish, $50 – 9 – Garrick Pillow, Home Decorators Collection, $28
My husband and I recently returned home from a fun and relaxing vacation to the beautiful beaches of Florida…
While we were away, we managed to collect some special shells, take all sorts of photos and explore some places we that we hope revisit someday in the future. It got me thinking about some creative ways to organize our vacation souvenirs and memories to be sure those amazing moments are never forgotten.
1. Create a vacation memory box:
Dedicate an acid-free box as your vacation time capsule. The box is a great place to add ticket stubs, souvenirs, brochures and maps from your favorite vacation destinations.
2. Create a keepsake album:
Slide bulkier memorabilia into plastic zipper bags and hole punch them so they can be included within a vacation photo album.
3. Create a vacation collage:
Collect postcards from your favorite destinations and keep them all on display in your home in the form of a lovely gallery wall.
4. Put your memories on display:
Use clear mason jars and vases to display your vacation findings on bookshelves and table tops.
5. Create a collage:
Print off your favorite photographs and decoupage them onto over-sized craft letters to create a custom wall hanging of your most cherished moments.
Sources from upper left: (1) The game’s afoot!; (2) Waldorf Pendant; (3) Eclectic Rhino Bust; (4) Turquoise Books; (5) Magnifying Glass; (6) A La Belle Etoile; (7) Pocket Watches; (8) Sherlock’s Pipe; (9) Vintage London Map; (10) Gold Floor Lamp; (11) Houndstooth Pillows; (12) Century Crib; (13) Sherlock Quote; (14) The Hound of the Baskervilles; (15) Turquoise Campaign Chests; (16) Gingham Crib Sheet; (17) Fillmore Chair; (18) Plaid Rug; (19) The Queen Pillow; (20) Union Jack Pillow