BHG Style Spotters

The Hottest Trends for You and Your Home

Posts by Rachel Shingleton

It’s easy to get excited about gorgeous outdoor patios and porches, but what do you do if all you have is a concrete slab out in the backyard?

That’s what we’re looking at currently in our house here in Oklahoma City, and it’s not exactly pretty. I’ve done a little fluffing and accessorizing to help things out, but it still doesn’t help us out with the lack of shelter. And in our crazy Oklahoma extremes (I’m looking at you, 100-degree weather) we need a way to stay in the shade.

I’ve been pinning ideas like crazy, and it’s probably most feasible for our home to do a pretty pergola of some kind. But there’s several things to consider when choosing one, so let’s take a little tour of some pretty amazing patios with pergolas and get some ideas to beautify your space.

VISUAL APPEAL + FUNCTION

bhg white farmhouse pergola

Pergolas are fairly simple – posts on each corner and a criss-cross lattice design on the top. But the aesthetic can extend so much further, and it’s important to consider the overall architecture of your home. Many pergolas are designed with columns or simple posts. The overhead tail of the pergola can also take on a multitude of different designs.

I love the contrast of this pretty pergola’s gently swooping white frame and natural wood overhead beams. It could easily be modern or traditional – a perfect in-between.

bhg contrasting elements pergola

The gentle roll of this pergola’s roofline adds so much charm along with the cheerful quote painted on the interior archway.bhg arched pergola

For a more modern spin, why not angle the roofline and build in a sectional to maximize your seating space?

bhg modern pergola

I’m particularly in love with this Victorian’s pergola. It honors the original and striking architecture of the home beautifully with turned posts and quatrefoil trim around the top. Look how the light filters through it too. Sigh.

bhg victorian pergola

Minimalists will appreciate the pergola below in all white with a simple grid construction for the top. bhg simple pergola

I’m also partial to this contemporary freestanding cedar pergola that offers shade and privacy. I’d love to see this in all white for a beach house.

modular garden modern pergola

(via)

PRIVACY CONCERNS

Speaking of privacy, if you want to create a little hideaway in your yard (especially if you have neighbors close by), consider enclosing one end of the pergola. This is also a great way to create a focal point with a mirror, interesting piece of artwork or a light fixture.

bhg privacy pergola

Caribbean style doesn’t get any better than this: an all-white pergola is surrounded by Bahamian-style shutters that not only provide shade but also privacy.

english room caribbean pergola

via

Celerie Kemble’s Playa Grande Beach Club in the Dominican Republic is on my must-visit list. A series of 13 dreamy little bungalows, there are loads of beautiful little nooks and crannies to escape to. This pergola with rocky floor and grass growing all around features a hanging daybed and is one of my most favorite pergolas that I’ve pinned thus far. Maybe it’s because I’m obsessed with my porch swing at the lake, but I’d love to recreate this at our home in Oklahoma City.

sketch 42 playa grande pergola

via

DECOR & LIGHTING

Now that you’ve got your structure’s style nailed down, it’s time to accessorize. Don’t overlook the all-too-important elements of seating, lighting, and accessories. Lanterns, stringing lights, and built-in sconces all make for dreamy and mood-setting options.

bhg grapevine pergola lighting

Why not try a series of vintage chandeliers? If you’re of the DIY persuasion, grab a can or two of spray paint and track down some inexpensive finds at a local antique shop or Craigslist.

bhg grand pergola columns

You can also get creative with your seating. Low-lying walls can provide flexible seating as a built-in banquette and are perfect for loads of fluffy outdoor pillows.

bhg built in rock seating pergola

And if you live in a place without a ton of gusty breezes, I love a set of dramatic outdoor drapes to provide shade, texture, and visual interest.

bhg accessorize pergola drapes


Are you sick of subway tile yet? It’s easily one of the most popular surface tiles out there right now and for good reason: it’s stylish, classic, a perfect in-between for those who favor both modern and traditional, and it’s affordable.

But subway tile is highly versatile which means that designers are having some fun getting creative. Here are 7 ways to think outside the box (or line, if you will).

1 – GO BEVELED

eat-sign-3

Most of the subway tile you encounter is of the flat variety. But if you’re wanting to stick with the traditional look and placement, why not experiment with the depth? Beveled subway tile brings in a little extra French bistro flair. (See more here)

2 – LINEAR GOES ROGUE

apt therapy subway tile different shower

Make those lines go some place interesting by experimenting with new ways to lay the tile. This could’ve been a fairly boring and straightforward shower, but that little abrupt jaunt to the right makes everything suddenly more interesting. (via)

3. TRY IT IN UNEXPECTED PLACES

blakes london tile in cabinets

Here’s a new one to me: subway tile used inside kitchen cabinetry (via). It’s a lovely and unexpected backdrop for contrasting dishes. Plus it’s another way to bring texture in a creative way.

4 – GLAM IT UP

ml interior design mirrored subway tile bar

Why not go for glam with a mirrored subway tile? If you love a little dash of something fabulous, mirrored subway tile could be a good fit. The traditional shaker style of the cabinetry keeps it grounded and not too contemporary. Plus the mirrored finish is perfect for any place where you might need a little more light to bounce around. (via)

5 – MAKE A COLOR STATEMENT

bhg colorful subway tile

Get beyond the traditional white subway tile with a bold hue like this orange accent wall above. By keeping it contained to one wall, it doesn’t overwhelm the entire room, nor does it feel like it’s an orange kitchen, per se. White woodwork contrasts nicely and lends a cottage charm.

6 – DELINEATE YOUR SPACE

smitten bathroom

Mark off an area and make it pop with an accent wall from top to bottom. Subway tile laid in a basketweave pattern provides texture and a pretty backdrop to this all-white modern bathroom. I love the faucets mounted directly to the wall too. (via)

7 – GO DRAMATIC

glossy black subway tile

I am obsessed with this black subway tile laid with black grout. Insanely chic, but also visually interesting against all the rustic wood and stone pieces. But it doesn’t go too dark or moody thanks to the contrasting white walls and hanging pendants over the dining table. A bold gamble, for sure, but one that definitely paid off. (via)

Are you over subway tile? Or are you still loving it? I admit, I’m still head over heels for it, but I’m definitely looking to push the envelope in some upcoming projects! Stay tuned.


Every home needs a landing place – that spot for bags, keys, gardening shoes or sports equipment that really doesn’t have a spot anywhere else (and otherwise accumulates on your kitchen floor). It serves a different and far more functional purpose than your front entryway and needs to be able to take a beating on the regular. But even if you don’t have a dedicated mudroom, you can still integrate a few of these ideas into your own space.

Without a doubt, functional storage is the number one need in a mudroom. Whether it be hooks, a garment rack, individual cubbies, drawers, shelves or baskets, make a place for every member of the family to stash their stuff. I’m personally a fan of having lots of hooks as it’s super easy for small kids to hang up their own things.

smp mudroom carlton landing

Style Me Pretty

Speaking of smart storage, the mesh cabinet fronts are a clever way to keep stinky sports equipment (or shoes!) properly airing out even while staying stashed. Install some pretty sconces to add out-of-the-way lighting.

laura burleson mudroom

Laura Burleson

I love how clean and modern this particular mudroom is. A double shoe rack on the bottom and individual cubbies clearly delineate each family member’s space. The flooring is easy to keep clean which is crucial — definitely avoid carpet or rugs that you can’t easily toss into the washing machine. Include a mat outside the door for everyone to wipe their shoes on as it will catch the majority of the dirt/sand/mud being tracked in.

emily clark mudroom

Emily A. Clark

brit mudroom

BHG

Consider adding a bench into your design to provide a place to sit down and remove those muddy boots. It’s easy to integrate drawers or additional storage underneath the bench.

bhg mudroom 1

BHG

If you don’t like the idea of always looking at the mudroom clutter, consider putting doors on the front of the individual cubbies. This grey mudroom below feels organized merely because everything is hidden behind those doors! Remember how everyone was taking the cupboard doors off their kitchen cabinets a few years ago? Open cubbies can often function much like open kitchen cabinets with no doors; you’ll have to keep it shipshape at all times if you’re prone to anxiety over visual clutter.

greige mudroom

City Farmhouse

This may be my most favorite mudroom ever. The mudroom could be a fun place to experiment with interesting tile that you might not want to commit to in the rest of the house. And how about that incredible skylight?

this old house mudroom

This Old House

I am so inspired by all of these gorgeous mudrooms – time to start getting organized before the schoolyear starts!


My favorite white paint colors - @psstudio - www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

The number one question I’ve been asked is what my favorite white paint colors are. Whites can run the gamut of colors. There are warm whites, cool whites, and true bright whites. There are no hard and fast rules on what is a right white; it truly boils down to what looks best in your space.

No matter what line you go with you are bound to find some great options to fit your budget. I’m a Benjamin Moore fan, but you can find some great options at Sherwin Williams, Farrow & Ball, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. (I’m still in mourning over the loss of Martha Stewart’s paint line at Home Depot (RIP!) and I used her Heavy Cream color a lot. It worked so beautifully in pretty much any interior.) I highly recommend grabbing a fan deck of whichever line you prefer to keep on hand. I have a few different fan decks of Benjamin Moore’s; it’s easy to pop it open and survey all the different color options. Most of the time I like to choose one that has a little ivory to it, but it always depends on how much natural light the room gets.

A FEW TIPS:

  • ALWAYS paint a few swatches on each and every wall in the room you’re going to paint. You can never go by just a paper swatch as the paint will react differently to the surface it’s being painted on in addition to the light the room receives throughout the day.
  • Choose at least 3 samples to test out, but ideally closer to 5. One will almost always be immediately ruled out.
  • Look at your paint samples in different lights: morning, afternoon, evening, and with your overhead lights on.

Ok, on to my favorites!

Favorite cool white: Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White. A cool white can be a little bit sterile unless you get a ton of natural sunlight which will warm it up. We used this in our entire lake house and because of all our windows and high ceilings, it feels airy and loftlike. Great for kitchen cabinetry, bathrooms, trim, etc.

Benjamin Moore decorator's white - favorite white paint colors - shiplap - www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Benjamin Moore decorator's white - favorite white paint colors - shiplap - www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

Favorite warm white: Benjamin Moore China White. This one is almost always a win-win. It’s creamy but can skew pretty bright in a well-lit room. We used it in our master bedroom and a few other corners of our house.

pencil shavings studio bedroom minted-13

Blue and aqua pop beautifully against it and warm metallics are also a great match.pencil shavings studio bedroom minted-6

Favorite grey white: Benjamin Moore Pale Oak. I LOVE the undertones to this white. It is oh-so chic.

Benjamin Moore pale oak - www.pencilshavingsstudio.com

via a Cup of Jo (Jessie Randall’s home – a gorgeous home tour! Photos by Alpha Smoot)

Favorite mix-well-with-other-colors white: Benjamin Moore Steam. We used this on our kitchen cabinetry and family room. It’s part of the Affinity collection which means that you can pick any color from the 144 options and know that they’ll coordinate together.

pencil shavings home tour-9 pencil shavings home tour-25

I’m not the only one w/ strong opinions on favorite whites:

A Beautiful Mess

The Decorologist

Amber Interiors

One Kings Lane

Elements of Style


pencil shavings studio outdoor update-4

We’re in the midst of updating our backyard patio, especially now that our youngest is big enough to enjoy playing outside. We found a pair of chairs and a low outdoor coffee table on our local Craigslist for a steal and I’m amazed how a simple, relatively inexpensive update has brought us so much more enjoyment of our patio. And with a little creativity, you can create a beautiful outdoor living space for the whole family to enjoy as the weather turns warm. Here’s a roundup of 11 easy ideas to update your patio or porch.

cool pendant funky mismatched furniture

Use unexpected pieces to bring personality to your porch. An old trunk and mismatched side tables add a lot of style and function (think toy storage!). Plus they could easily be sourced from antique shops for not a lot of money and easily updated with a coat of paint.

ceiling fans southern porch

Just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean you can’t have great lighting. In a covered porch or patio, set the mood with a pair of lamps flanking an outdoor sofa.

curtains on porch

Why not add outdoor curtains to your front porch? They’re a great way to block harsh sunlight and to provide privacy from too-close neighbors.

dining room french chairs lighting

String lights mounted overhead bring a soft warm glow to your evening dinner party. Wall-mounted sconces embedded in a greenery-laden wall bring an extra layer of polish to the dining space.

funky side tables

Have plenty of little side tables that can double as seating in a pinch. By choosing items that can do double duty, you get maximum bang for your buck.

lighting

Outdoor pillows are a great way to provide a comfy place for your guests to relax. Don’t be afraid to have a rainbow of hues. These brightly colored pillows bring an all-white deck to life but stay chic since they’re all the same pattern. Remember – repetition is always your friend when it comes to design.

low seating umbrella repetition

A long low outdoor sofa is shaded under a broad outdoor umbrella. Sofas are a great way to offer a lot of seating and lounge space – it’s the perfect place to catch an afternoon nap in the breeze.

mirror patio

Try an unexpected indoor element outside: a big round mirror is a beautiful addition to the brick wall and outdoor sofa.

mix and match patterns colorful floor

An indoor/outdoor rug will make any outdoor space feel more cohesive and intentional. Plus it will also keep your feet from burning on hot concrete.

orange and blue patio

Have a consistent color scheme for your outdoor living room. Just like any interior room, a tight color palette will bring a sense of continuity and intention. Balance it with a neutral to give your eye a rest (like the white ceramic garden stool and clapboard walls of the house).

outdoor upholstery

Don’t be afraid to try upholstered furniture in outdoor fabrics, particularly on a covered patio. Specially designed to wick away moisture and resist fading, there’s a wealth of comfortable lounge furniture in a surprising array of fabrics. (via)

unexpected textiles

Even the smallest of patios can be made extra cozy with the addition of fun textiles, an array of plants, and mood-setting lighting (check out those mismatched candelabras!). (via)

What are your favorite ways to beautify your outdoor space? Share in the comments!


The weather is warming up with every passing day, and that means we’re starting to enjoy the outdoors again. Evenings are spent on the patio while the kiddos run around in the grass and I’m on the prowl for outdoor living inspiration, especially for our house at the lake where we host frequently. Entertaining outdoors should be a no-fuss proposition, especially when you’re the hostess and you want to enjoy your guests. So I’ve rounded up some great ideas from IKEA as we head into the warmer season.

ikea outdoor header

How dreamy is this beautiful patio setting with mix-and-match blue textiles? I love these blue table runners layered over each other – the perfect solution for drop-leaf dining tables so you never have to worry about having the right size tablecloth. Lanterns swaying gently in the breeze (solar powered!) provide major ambience while loads of pillow and cushions keep everyone comfy and happy into the wee hours of the night. And since the dining table expands, you could always easily open the drop leaf to include more friends.

ikea outdoor 5

We love bringing our dining room table out onto the boardwalk for dinner with neighbors. A lightweight table and chairs from the kitchen easily transition outdoors and give a stylish eclectic feel to the party. I love the idea of pulling a few flowers or branches from the yard to decorate the table with: place them in a variety of mismatched vases (like this one or this one) and arrange them on a pretty tray for a simple centerpiece.

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A simple and beautiful table scene thanks to its natural surroundings is maybe the ultimate definition of effortless entertaining. Think of it as your outdoor dining room with soft green foliage in lieu of walls. It’s the perfect setting for connecting with your friends and family and creating lasting memories.

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It’s also the perfect time of year to enjoy an outdoor picnic for the ultimate in casual entertaining. Mix and match your textiles and pull a wicker basket out as a makeshift dining table. Toss your utensils and dishes into a basket to easily transport them outside. Add a few well-placed cushions and throw blankets in case the weather turns chilly after dark and bring out the solar powered LED lanterns for a soft glow into the evening.

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I’m so excited to celebrate the warmer months as we transition into summer. Here’s to many a long warm evening spent with friends, making memories!

For more inspiration, visit the IKEA Spring brochure.


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