BHG Style Spotters

The Hottest Trends for You and Your Home

5 ways

Balancing Cool and Warm Tones in Your Home

Any decorator will tell you that color can be tricky, but those with experience know it’s all about balance. Basic color theory says that the three colors of yellow, orange, and red on the color wheel are warm tones while on the opposite side, blues, greens, and purples act as cool tones. When decorating, the analogous warm and cool trios will always work together, however incorporating elements of each creates a combination that adds interest to a space and can be accomplished with a few different tricks.

Wood = Warm. Unless wood is whitewashed or possesses a gray stain, wood in its natural state or stained with brown tones will always add warm tones to a room. Choosing textiles or accessories in shades of blue, green, or purple will balance the warmth found in those wood pieces and/or flooring.

blue linens wood furniture bhg


Consider Complements. Combining colors that sit across from each other on the color wheel will energize a space, this deep teal pillow paired with burnt orange leather is a perfect example.

mixing cool and warm


Add Metallics.  Gray neutral tones can read as cold so bring warmth and contrast with brass and gold leaf metallic finishes. The warm wood tones also help to balance the cool neutral.

gray and gold dining room bhg

Mix It Up.  Great patterns found in textiles are always a jumping off point for decorating a space. A hot pink or coral patterned pillow pops against a cool tone mint green wall. Also note how the dark brown sofa is balanced by the pairing with two blue slipper chairs.

mint walls blue chairs


Follow Nature.  Take a cue from the great outdoors, nature never gets it wrong! The earth tones found in bark and branches are a foundation for the vivid colors found in bright purple blooms. Repeat the technique indoors by using wood and earth tone neutrals in the background and pulling pieces in bright colors into the space as accents.

vibrant and subdued

For even more great advice on how to decorate with color, pick up Better Homes & Gardens Color: The Complete Guide for your Home !


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Paint Colors for Rooms Trimmed with Wood

So many of the images that appear on the pages of magazines have white painted baseboards, door casings, molding, and window trim. There’s nothing wrong with that, white is fresh, bright, and always classic, yet many older homes possess wood trimmed doors and windows. They may be Arts & Crafts style, Victorians, Colonials, or simply older homes where exposed woodwork adds to the architectural appeal.

Many a homeowner gets the itch to paint wood trim white, black, or even a bold color, but others recognize the beauty of wood trim and wish to preserve it in its original state. Bravo! Choosing a paint color to complement isn’t difficult, get inspired by these spaces that show how well both color and neutrals partner with wood trim.

Because of its organic makeup, wood is a warmer tone so pairing it with colors that possess cooler undertones is a smart choice. Blue in its various shades from navy to slate to sky offers a balanced approach and allows the wood trim to be beautiful in its natural state.

slate blue wood trim

blue painted walls wood trim windows bhg


Green sits adjacent to blue on the color wheel and is also considered a cool color. Opt for a verdant green or one in a paler or less saturated shade. Just about any green will partner well with wood trim, especially when the casings or baseboards are stained with yellow or red undertones.

wood trim green walls bhg


A palette reminiscent of warmer climates is always appealing so consider a mid tone or mustard yellow, which brings the feeling of sunshine to a space and is sure to cheer even when skies are gray outside. Also consider a blush pink as a feminine nod to balance the weight of wood.

yellow walls rustic beams

A no fail approach to choosing paint for rooms trimmed in wood is to opt for a neutral hue. Choose one that has gray undertones (often referred to as greige or taupe) so the brown tones don’t overwhelm.

cream walls wood trim bhg

wood trim taupe walls

Finally, add interest to a neutral space trimmed in wood by introducing texture (think silk, lambswool, linen, leather, woven materials) or vibrant and colorful accents in the form of pillows and rugs.

For those of you living in homes with wood window casings and door trim, take a step back and resist the urge to coat them in paint. Preserve their integrity and add color to the walls instead!


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Decorating Around a Flat Screen TV

Our culture has put the television front and center in our everyday world as we tune in for news, sports, and entertainment. When decorating the home, everyone has to decide where to place their flat screen so that it’s easily visible but doesn’t overwhelm the room. To follow are five different ideas for decorating around a flat screen television at home. 

Consider the screen in the room’s architectural design, planning for a recessed niche with state-of-the-art wiring and outlets ready for mounting. Suspending a television above allows both the fireplace and the television to share rather than compete for the focal point and makes furniture arrangement that much easier.

flat screen above mantel


flat screen above fireplace


Opt for clever concealment or thoughtful disguises such as an ornate picture frame to surround or an armoire that can be closed when the television is not in use.

framed flat screen


versatile armoire 1


A media console grounds the space below the four corners of a screen and patterned window panels layered in contemporary patterns help to not only frame it but detract attention away.

flat screen above console


flat screen above cabinet


Another clever way to balance the weight of a flat screen is to curate a gallery of artwork or photography around it so the screen doesn’t dominate, rather it plays into the repetition of frames on display.

artwork around flat screen


flat screen on console


If you have the wall space, consider an arrangement of furniture that flanks a television with bookcases that possess open display above and media storage below.

flat screen media center bhg


flat screen in media center


How do you incorporate the big black box into your everyday decor, share your solution!


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The Versatile Expedit

For years IKEA has been a source for affordable furnishings, and many of their pieces have become staples in homes all over the world. The Expedit shelf is among the most popular and when used in smart ways by savvy residents of homes large and small, it’s landed on the pages of Better Homes & Gardens magazine and Special Interest publications. To follow are examples of the very versatile Expedit ! 

Stacked in a quartet, these four shelving units are purposed as a wall of bookcases. Hanging a decorative mirror adds an elegant touch.

stacked ikea expedits


If cabinetry or storage is lacking in a kitchen or breakfast nook, use it to house a collection of colorful dishes that are easy to grab at snack or supper time.

ikea expedit in kitchen


The Expedit is finished on both sides so it makes an excellent room divider in any open space. Fill it with books or collectibles so it multitasks.

white expedit with books


It needn’t stand up in vertical formation, it also works as a long console in a playroom. Repurpose single row units as benches by adding a colorful cushion to the top while storing supplies below.

side by side expedits


expedit bench


On a blank wall, the Expedit provides useful storage in a home office or craft room. Thankfully, the unit is available in more than just white, look for it in black, gray, and high gloss versions in pink, red, and turquoise and accompanying bins and baskets designed to fit inside.

ikea expedit home office


ikea expedit

 blue ikea expedit


Speaking of colorful storage, take a peek at these products to organize and control clutter over at BH&G Shop!

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A More Efficient Kitchen

It’s January so we continue the organizational theme by addressing storage in the most used space in the home, the kitchen. With any kitchen remodel, you can plan ahead and incorporate space saving measures, but for those of us that live with kitchens as they are, it’s helpful to equip yourself with a few strategies for better efficiency. These five changes will help get any kitchen large or small functioning more smoothly.

Begin with a well organized “junk” drawer where commonly used items are kept within easy reach. Efficiency is created with the use of drawer organizers, small trays, or bowls, and just a few minutes each week dedicated to keeping it clutter free saves time down the road when these necessities are in demand.

kitchen junk drawer


Modify a 18” x 24” base cabinet to a recycling and garbage center and squeeze two kitchen sized cans inside. Look for online tutorials and/or conversion kits to make this weekend project work for your home and consider a toe kick drawer for storing bags or cleaning supplies.

recycle and trash bins in kitchen


Swap out a few fixed shelves for pullout units that provide easy access to all things stored inside and avoid the jostling around of items with the luxury of better view.

pullout drawers in pantry


Dedicate the interior of a cabinet door to a peg board station to hold a grocery list, coupons, or other small office supplies such as Post-Its for reminders of things to do that week. A painted chalkboard surface below allows kids to be involved in the process.

cabinet organization station


Take inventory of all pots, pans, dishes, and platters, keeping only what you value and donating the rest. Store only what you use and what you love in simple stacks on pantry shelves for a clutter free zone.

organized pantry shelves in kitchen


Related Organizational Tips:


Happy kitchen organizing!


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Get Clean + Organized in 2014

2014 has arrived! With the new year comes motivation to start fresh with a clean and organized home. When looking at the house as a whole the idea of decluttering can feel overwhelming, but small steps and a few hours of effort yield dramatic results.

It all begins and ends with clean surfaces! Gather your products, scrubbers, and supplies into one area or closet so you’re ready to tackle the spaces once they’re cleared of unwanted clutter.

cleaning closet

Purging your home of unnecessary or outdated items keeps your home functioning well by storing only what is important to you. Take a few hours to sort through cabinets and closets to donate the things that no longer have meaning or purpose.

jan purge

Once the excess and unwanted items are purged, get busy organizing closets by keeping and hanging only the things used on a daily basis. Pack away items used in the off season in bins or boxes, squeezing every inch of storage out of space both high and low.

organized closet

Now may be the time to invest in furniture that multitasks so you can organize small items in trays in drawers and store larger items in cabinets below. When closed, the drawers and doors maintain a clutter free look.

multitasking furniture

Baskets and bins have proven time and again to be the easiest way to sort everyday items from socks to toys to mail. Invest in sturdy or colorful versions that make the sorting chore just a tad more enjoyable and consider a few extra minutes for handmade tags or labels as a reminder of what goes where.

bins with tags

Now is the time! Dedicating a day or weekend to the task of reorganizing and cleaning will leave your home feeling fresh again, and you’ll be ready to take on the new challenges and opportunities that 2014 brings. Cheers!


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