How To

BHG Guest Blogger

Chalky Pastel Jam Jars + Decorate With Flowers Book Giveaway!

 

 

We’re Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, two friends and colleagues who live in opposite sides of the world who came together thanks to the internet, frequent flyer miles and Skype to forge a friendship and to work on projects that we love, like Decorate With Flowers. Below is one of our DIY projects from our book. It’s a quick, easy way to bring color to castoff jars and make your flowers appear as works of art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Chalky Pastel Jam Jars

 

You will need:

  • Recycled jam jars
  • Latex paint in a variety of colors
  • Smaller bottles to fit inside

 

Method:

  • Hardware stores often sell small sample-size containers of latex paint. This is an inexpensive way to get a wide variety of colors for this project as you do not need much paint for each jar. Pour a small amount of paint into a clean glass jar.
  • Coat the inside of the jar by tilting it to move the paint around as you cover the inside. Add more paint as needed.
  • When the inside is fully coated carefully pour out any excess paint and wipe the rim and outside of the jar clean. Let dry. This may take a day or two.
  • You cannot get the inside of your painted jars wet as the paint will peel off, so place smaller bottles inside to hold the water for your flowers.

 

Flowers used in this project:

  • Garden rose
  • Lavender
  • Dahlia

 

Win our book!

To enter to win one of 5 copies of Decorate With Flowers, tell us below: “What is your favorite kind of flower?”. For another opportunity to win, connect with Better Homes and Gardens on Twitter and re-tweet the tweet marked with the hashtag #BHGFlowers. We’ll conduct a random drawing from the entries received to select the winners. See the official contest rules here.

Photos and project from Decorate With Flowers.


Maxwell Ryan

6 Tips for Living in Small Spaces

Having lived in small spaces all of my life, I feel that I’ve learned a few things about how to live in them well. Some may seem counterintuitive such as “put big things into small spaces,” but often what works is not obvious. Many people like to compare outfitting a small space to outfitting a boat, with a small space set aside for everything and all the surfaces covered, but this is first generation thinking and small homes on land are not boats. Homes need more breathing room and carefully fitting everything in creates a suffocating environment. Second generation space planning uses a number of tools to push and exaggerate the small space, making it feel much bigger emotionally than it is physically in square feet. In the end of the day whether your space FEELS small or big is what it’s all about.

 

1. 20% Emptiness = Happiness

One-hundred percent perfectly full is a loss, not a victory. Every room, every shelf and every cabinet should have a little breathing room to allow your eye to rest and make it easy to put something away without struggle. Traditional Japanese architects are said to plan their buildings around where the shadows fall and not where the light does. Being this conscious of shadows and the empty spaces and planning for them is a game changer. Leaving 20 percent empty and waiting will achieve this.

 

2. Lighten Walls, Darken Floors

The lighter you paint your walls, the more luminous your room will be, as well as the farther away they will seem. While doing the same to the floor might also make the room feel bigger, I find that dark-stained floors feel cozier underfoot and create contrast at the bottom edge of the walls that makes them seem brighter and taller to boot. A dark floor is earthlike and has a way of falling away underneath you as you enter a room, and if you paint your ceiling extra bright white it will magically suspend itself upward and open up like the sky over your head.

 

3. Put Big Into Small

If you get too frugal with a space and scale everything down to fit in, you will get a very small feeling resonating through. Inserting one or two large pieces into a small space is surprising and creates a “change moment” that we find refreshing and allows us to consider a small room as being larger than it really is. Large artwork, rugs, lighting and even beds balanced against appropriately-sized pieces will create an energetic contrast and a sense of luxury.

 

4. Three Points of Light

Light is your most powerful tool when manipulating space and getting it to expand. Our sense of space comes from where our eye can travel and it is drawn to light and avoids darkness. While paint colors and reflectivity are important, starting with adequate light is essential. Most homes, I have found, are underlit, so I have a simple guide: make sure you have three light sources in every room and don’t include simple light fixtures in the ceiling’s middle, as these shed a very poor light. Light should glow at the level you are living. Table lamps, floor lamps and ceiling fixtures that direct their light down to the walls or the floor are best. When things feel small, add more light!

 

5. Mirrors Multiply Light

It’s the oldest trick in the book, but mirrors DO multiply the ambient light in a room and allow your eye to extend beyond the walls they hang on, creating a much greater sense of space. Again, the feeling of how much room you have is directly related to how far your eye can travel and mirrors definitely help. Add them to dining rooms, hallways, bathrooms and living rooms. Keep them out of the bedroom, as they are stimulating and don’t support a deep rest.

 

6. Doors Eat Up Space

Most homes have too many doors. Really. Doors take up a lot of floor space in order to open and close properly, making floor planning challenging, and they are often quite unnecessary between interior rooms. Bi-fold doors and sliding doors on closets can get stuck and shut down 50 percent of a closet. In space-challenged situations, I often start by scouting the doors to see which ones I can remove right away. This allows for more movement and more room for furniture. With closets, my classic solution is to remove the doors and replace them tightly with heavy white canvas curtains. This allows 100 percent accessibility and also allows light within the closet to make the curtain glow as if it were a window and not a dark hole.


BHG Guest Blogger

5 Tips for Mixing Patterns

 

 

 

Hi everyone!  My name’s Lauren Liess and I write the blog Pure Style Home.  I’m a decorator with a shop in Great Falls, Virginia and today, I’d love to share a few tips with you on mixing patterns effectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Vary the scale of the patterns:  To keep a mix of patterns from feeling busy, use patterns of different scales together.  Multiple large patterns will compete with one another, but combining large, medium and small patterns allows the patterns to work together instead of competing.  If you do use patterns of the same scale, try to vary the pattern itself.  (I.e. an oversized ikat with an oversized floral can work well together.)

The large-scale botanicals on the wall mix with the smaller-scaled green leaf-print and even smaller-scaled blockprint paisley.

 

2. Mix different types of patterns:  I love to combine different types of patterns to keep things interesting and relaxed-feeling.  A floral, a stripe and a graphic pattern, for example, can work together beautifully, whereas three florals might feel like flower-power overkill or three graphic patterns or stripes might feel a bit intense and repetitive.

In my clients’ family room, I mixed a variety of patterns in the pillows on the sofa and in the rug

 

3. Be aware of your pattern to solid ratio:  We all have different preferences for how much pattern we like in a room.  Figure out your pattern to solid ratio by looking at photos of rooms you love and seeing what’s been done in those rooms.  If the sofas and chairs are typically solid in the rooms you love, and the curtains are patterned and the pillows are a mix of solid and patterns, you can create a similar feeling in your own home.  You’ll notice right away whether you’re drawn to rooms with more solids or patterns or those with an equal balance.  (My personal pattern to solid ratio changes with my moods so it’s easy to add more pattern in accents like pillows and/or throw blankets… but I do typically like an airy and relaxed-feeling room which typically has some large solid elements to keep things from feeling too noisy. )

The living room in my previous home. Photo by Helen Norman.

 

4. Don’t forget about walls, artwork and rugs:  Every element in a room can read as pattern, whether it’s an actual textile or not.  Patterned rugs and wallpapers are usually on the radar when mixing patterns, but artwork is often overlooked.  It can calm a room down or wake it up just like patterns.  Having more or less movement and a mix of colors causes it to read as a pattern and have an effect on a space just like a pattern would.  If you want to add more pattern to a room, and have done all you can with fabrics, consider your artwork.  Add pieces in with more movement and energy to make it feel like there is more going on in the room, or add a solid piece to calm it down.  Treat artwork like another pattern and consider your desired solid to pattern ratio when selecting it.

In my shop, the botanical specimens above the sofa create a grid that adds another patterned element to the room. Photo by Helen Norman.

 

5. Don’t be afraid to break any rules.  If you love something and it goes against conventional design wisdom, do it anyway.  (For example, maybe you feel you can never mix too many florals and that there’s no such things as flower-power overkill, then go for it.  Do what makes you smile when you come home.  Tips and “rules” are just guidelines for you and the very best homes are those that surprise and are extremely personal, which always requires a little rule-breaking.

A window seat I did with a lively mix of patterns that ordinarily might be thought of as “too much” ended up feeling relaxed and charming. Photo by Helen Norman.

 

Thanks so much to BHG for inviting me to be a part of their blog.  It’s been fun!!  Have a great day & take care,

 

Lauren


BHG Guest Blogger

DIY Gem Statement Necklace

 

 

 

Add a finishing touch to your outfit with a gorgeous statement necklace. See how to create your own in six simple steps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you need:
Chain
Gems
Jewelry Pliers
Jumprings
Lobster Clasp
E6000 glue
Plastic square
scissors

Get a kit with all the supplies here!

What to do:
Cut two pieces of chain and lay them down so there is crescent shaped gap between the two pieces.
Next cut the plastic sheet to fit the gap.
Glue the chain to the top of the crescent, then start glueing your gems on the plastic.
Once you have your gem pattern in place, glue the longer piece of chain to the bottom of the plastic.
Reinforce the necklace by glueing together the chain on both sides of your necklace. Let glue dry.
Add jumprings and lobster clasp using your jewelry pliers.
Ready to wear!

 

Growing up in Wisconsin, Jenni Radosevich was always creating her own style. If she saw something in a magazine that she couldn’t find in her local department store, she would make it herself. Now living in New York, her affinity to “spot style you love, and do-it-yourself” has manifested itself into a website: ISpyDIY.com and book, I Spy DIY Style, which has been featured on The Martha Stewart Show, Rachel Ray Show, CNN.com, The Today Show, Wall Street Journal and InStyle magazine.


Ellen Miller

Easy hair—that can make you look younger!

Sometimes you learn a hair trick so revolutionary that it would be a crime to keep it to yourself. Over the weekend I got a post-color blowout from Stephen Thomas at the Oscar Blandi salon (@OscarBlandi) in New York City. Stephen’s my go-to blow-out guru because he’s figured out how to give my seaweed-on-a-rock straight hair a bit of texture and volume—that actually lasts for a day or two! (And, as we reported on page 117 of the October issue, adding a bit of curl to straight hair can actually make you look younger!) Unfortunately, I’ve never ever been able to recreate his in-salon magic—until now!

Me, at an event this morning, (Better Homes and Gardens nametag and all!) sporting new, slightly messy waves.

 

The secret to effortlessly pretty waves, surprisingly, is a bit of imperfection. If curls look too uniform you’ll end up looking like you tried a little too hard. Holding a 1” inch curling iron vertically, curl the front pieces back and away from your face. As you go around the rest of your head—and here’s the real revelation—alternate the direction you twirl the hair around the iron. Curl one piece towards your face, then one piece away. Afterwards, instead of hairspray, spray your entire head with a texturizing spray like Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray ($11; oscarblandi.com) and break up the curls with your fingers. See the finished look above—I got so many compliments (from other beauty editors!) that I had to share!

 

Want to try this look? Instagram a photo of the finished product, use the hashtag #BHGbeauty, and be sure to tag me @EllenMillerBty, so I can check it out. Run into problems or have any questions? Tweet me at @EllenMillerBty and I’ll ask Stephen myself and get you an answer pronto!