May 2012

A design “rule” that was meant to be broken is the one that dictates your dining room table and chairs have to perfectly match.  On the contrary, deliberately pairing your table with chairs in a different style or finish is a look that’s become increasingly popular in interior design.  Here are eight ideas to inspire you to consider breaking up your matching dining room set to give your dining space a fresh modern look. 

Paint The Chairs.   Change up your matching set with a simple coat of primer and paint on the chairs for an instant makeover in a weekend. 


white painted chairs dark table bhg

   painted chairs dining room bhg



Add a Slipcover. Recovering your chairs in basic cotton or twill slipcovers is another solution to cure the “matchy matchy” look.  Slipcovers include the bonus of an easy to wash fabric, beneficial especially with kids or pets in the home.


slipcovered parsons with table bhg


urban plank table with slipcovered chairs



Mix Don’t Match.   Move your matching chairs to another room and bring in entirely new chairs,  from a completely different period or in a contrasting color for an unexpected medley.       


wire chairs modern wood table bhg


modern black and white table and chairs bhg



Modernize!  Unmistakable designs like the Saarinen tulip table or Eames dining chairs always inject a modern vibe – be bold and pair them with anything from colorful farmhouse rush seat chairs to contemporary lacquer tables. 


tulip table green chairs bhg


modern eames chairs dining space



Geometry 101.   Fretwork chairs with geometric shapes partner well with anything from a classic wood pedestal to a chrome and glass piece, and provide a crisp contemporary appeal.  


pedestal plus geometric chairs


geometric chairs glass top table



Texturize.   Wicker and woven rattan chairs import an outdoor or tropical vibe – mix them with wood or glass for a colorful or coastal inspired setting.   


woven chairs plus glass top table



wicker chairs wood pedestal


woven rattan seats saarinen tulip table



Get Benched.  Pull up a pedestal to a built in banquette or bring in upholstered benches for a cozy and comfortable alternative to standard chairs.   


pedestal plus banqette


upholstered benches x table



Make Unexpected Choices.   Consider two settees reminiscent of a restaurant booth and upholstered in a modern fabric instead of standard chairs, or simply mix your seating as you see fit, there really are no rules!


settee with modern metal leg table


gray walls mixed seating bhg

Just about anything goes these days as long as you tie in the colors or finishes with other elements in the room.  Whether it’s country or cottage, modern or eclectic, be inspired to kick up the style notch in your dining space by mixing up the seating and table with a look that reflects your tastes!



Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of the summer season, and we’re all looking forward to more time spent outdoors.  With all that lingering you’ll want to do outside, it’s time to add a layer of comfort to your porches, patios, and balconies in the form of summertime pillows and cushions in bright colors and fun motifs! 

bhg summer toss pillows


Nothing says summer like mixing bright colors and patterns to add a punch of pizazz to your outdoor spaces.


summer outdoor pillows


Layer your pillows on your outdoor furniture and benches to add comfort for enjoying the gardens and views in your own yard.   


summer stripe pillows on bench bhg


Keep extras corralled in textural woven baskets for when additional guests arrive!


summer pillows in basket bhg


Looking for a few outdoor pillows to add a pop of color or whimsy?  Here are a few I found while looking around that are sure to give you the perfect punctuation to your outdoor seating areas!


pillows with pizazz bhg




From top left: Super Paradise, Pop O Color on Etsy, $75; Ipanema Ikat Ottoman, World Market, $72; Trina Turk Hibiscus, Nina Von, $65; Côte d’Azur Tile Pillow, Restoration Hardware, $54; Crab Throw Pillow, World Market, $25; Bird of Paradise, World Market, $23; Outdoor Sailboat Print, Lands End, $30; Sun Gold by Thomas Paul, Layla Grace, $70; Turquoise Floral, Target, $25; Starfish Java, Burke Decor, $132;  Bertie Outdoor Floor Cushion, My Pillow Place, $50; Nautilus Pillow, Pottery Barn, $25.50; Nautical Rope Pillow, Williams Sonoma Home, $59; Mojito Breeze, Chloe & Olive, $29;  Stripe Outdoor Cube, Pottery Barn, $159


Happy summer decorating! 

kate signature image

I don’t consider myself a big “techie” person but I do appreciate those great apps that improve productivity or offer a little fun diversion from the daily grind.  The May issue highlighted innovation, so in the same spirit, today I’m sharing some of my favorite apps for smartphone and iPad.

may 2012 bhg cover


I’ve had an iPhone for years and can’t imagine life or blogging without it, and love the convenience and fun of the popular apps like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  Just a few months ago, we acquired an iPad for family use and although we limit screen time in our house, we find it a beneficial tool as well.  Here are some of my favorite apps!

First up is Flipboard, which integrates all your news and social media accounts into a digital magazine and instead of clicking on and scrolling through text, it presents it all in a beautiful book-like format with images allowing you to easily “flip” through articles, tweets, and posts like you would with a magazine or book.  I like to bring the iPad outside when the kids play and catch up on the latest with Flipboard.


cg favorite apps


I don’t need to carry a notebook around with the Noteshelf app -  you can use different size and color pens and highlighters to write directly on the notes which come in blank, lined or grid formats.  You can enter type and emoticons too.  Noteshelf allows you to store all your scribbles and notes on a “shelf” and access them later, or send your lists to your iPhone (or your “honey do” lists to your spouse!)  Noteshelf is strictly for iPad and costs $5.99 but if you’re a doodler or notetaker or listmaker, you’ll love it.

noteshelf app


Okay confession time, I’ve gained a few pounds from all the sitting I do all day, so I’m in the middle of a ‘reverse course’ and using My Fitness Pal mobile app to do it.


my fitness pal screen

This app tracks calorie intake and exercise to help me reach my goal of dropping those extra pounds and getting back in shape.  You input your weight, height, profile, level of daily activity, goal weight loss and this daily food and exercise journal helps in that weight loss goal.  A My Fitness Pal account can also be accessed from your desktop.

Photoshop Express is a fantastic “quick edit” app to tweak your photos before you print or share them with friends and family, free and easy to use with just a tap of the screen.

photoshop express app




The Guardian Eyewitness is a free app for iPad that features amazing images from around the globe taken with incredible photography.  I like to flip through it every few days to see what’s notable in pictures around the world.


guardian eyewitness screenshot



Did you ever have a dream you were flying over the earth like Superman? Google Earth for smartphone and iPad lets you do it! You can spin the globe while your at it and pick any place on the planet to “visit”.  My kids love this one as much as I do, especially peeking at different cities, and zooming in on topography from mountain ranges to deserts.


google earth


Magic Piano is a fun one for kids and adults who love the sound of a tinkling piano.  You can tap the board to play and play from the song choices that vary from classical to modern or go freestyle with a few differently shaped keyboards.


magic piano


Photobooth is a crazy camera filter built in to the iPad but if you want to give your kids or friends a laugh, turn it on and snap a screenshot – guaranteed to make everyone giggle!




Five other notable app mentions include Shazam for when you hear a song and don’t know the artist, this app will identify it for you 9 times out of 10, pretty amazing.  I sync my Google Calendar to remind myself of what’s coming up on my editorial calendar when I’m away from my desk.  I love the free app Orchestra for when I think of something I have to do but don’t have a pen with me – it has a voice recognition function which translates to a text reminder, love that.  Also, I’ve just downloaded Kindle for iPad and so far it looks promising, and of course, I adore pinning with the Pinterest for smartphone app.


What are your favorite apps you can’t live without?



A home filled with photographs is much more personal than one without, wouldn’t you agree?  Adding pictures of friends, family, and favorite places to your home brings that feeling of warmth and comfort to a space, but how you choose to display them is up to you!  Here are nine creative ways to display your photographs at home.

Coordinated Collection.  A long empty wall lends itself well to a collection of photographs. Notice how the frames are different in size and style but united by the uniformity of their black frames, white mats, and black and white photos.

wall of family photos


Who says the mats need to all be white?  Inject variety into your photo display with a few colorful mats, but keep the frame color and style the same for a clean presentation.


family gallery ledge bhg


Half & Half.  Blending a medley of photographs and art above floating ledges makes the display feel collected over time.  Hang a few frames on the wall then layer other frames next to each other to add interest to your walls in your office or living spaces.

open shelf display


open shelving mixed frames bhg


High & Mighty.  Skip the window treatments in a space that craves light and hang photographs above the window sills for big impact.

family wall pictures bhg


Shelve It.  Both built in and free standing bookshelves offer ledges for displaying multiple photographs of family and friends which is sure to bring all those memories flooding back.

family photos on bookshelves


Grow a Family Tree.  A tree painted on the wall or applied with a premade vinyl transfer offers a unique opportunity to display the different branches of people in your family.

family tree bhg


Get Crafty.  Decoupage medium is your best friend if you want to create any one of these displays.  Charm visitors with these four crafty ideas, including mounting photographs on decorative plates, making a homemade clock, spotlighting a family gathering inside a shadow box, or displaying your favorite photos on silver platters.

creative way to display photographs


There are endless options when it comes to displaying photography in your home.  Choose symmetrically hung frames or sophisticated black and white pictures for a more formal look, or be casual about your display, mixing in whimsy and creativity.  Anything goes these days, so have fun, enjoy the process, and most importantly, fill your home with images of your favorite people and places!



There are a lot of home accessories appearing in stores that are making one subject of science popular again and that’s geology.  Geology is the study of the rocks of the Earth and what they reveal about its history and while some might consider it that uninteresting subject you skipped in college, one thing is true, geological rocks make stunning “jewelry” for the home!

The hottest rock right now is agate, a microcrystalline form of silica found in various forms of volcanic rock.  It’s formed when cavities in the volcanic rock are penetrated with gasses and/or water that contains silica, and over time the layers and bands are produced inside the rock. One form of agate appears as layers of chalcedony on the outside with crystalline quartz on the inside.  Another form is known as banded agate, and when cut transversely, it reveals a succession of dramatic lines in a variety of colors.  But did you know that those saturated hues in brightly colored agate come from a unique dyeing process? 

Petrified wood is another geologically formed fossil appearing in home décor.  It’s formed when the organic stem tissue of a tree or plant has been replaced by mineral deposits but it still retains the appearance of its original structure. Quartz is another abundant mineral which comes in shades from rose to milky to smoky, and while often used for jewelry, can make a stunning home accent as well.

A few weeks ago I was shopping a popular discount store for designer goods and stumbled across two agate bookends that were so striking, I brought them home for my bookshelves.  At $20 for the pair, they became the perfect piece of “jewelry” for my own home.     


blue agate bookends



If you’re a lover of geology as jewelry for your home, take a peek at a few of these accessories:whats hot geology


From top left:  Eclipse Chandelier, Emporium Home; Silk Pillow Cover, West Elm, $20; Gavin Table, Mathew Studios, Agate Clock, Vivre, $85, Agate Stacking Boxes, Lille, $95-140, Petrified Wood Bookends, Anthropologie, $148, Quartz Lamp, Shades of Light, $499, Azure Spreaders, Vivre, $60, Decorative Finial, Chic Shop LA, $65; Green Agate Bookends, Phoenix Orion, $42; Pedra Coasters, Rablabs, 4 for $68; Carina Box, RabLabs, $168-260; Whorled Felt Rug, Anthropologie, $698


What about you?  Got any geological formations posing as accents in your home too? 





Isn’t it funny how colors go in and out of fashion over the years?  One year it’s turquoise that’s all the rage and the next year it’s orange.  This year there’s one other color that’s appearing everywhere from shelter magazines to home decor and that color is Kelly green.

Kelly green isn’t a trend in my book, it’s a classic.  The name hails from Ireland and according to Wikipedia, “derives from the fact that the surname Kelly as well as the color green are popular” in that country.  Kelly green is a bold accent color and very chic when used in textiles from window panels to pillows.  It pairs well with browns or blues, but nothing makes Kelly green pop more than a background of crisp white!  Then add some gold accessories for some major style points.


kelly green curtains bhg

kelly green pillows on bed

 kelly green window panels bhg


Kelly green as a color can lean masculine since it is commonly associated with some sports teams, but is easily tempered when paired with pale pinks or peaches or even fellow playful greens.


kelly green pillows on bed bhg


 kelly green bedding bhg



Verdant and bold, Kelly green is one that is one color that always gets noticed!  If you’re a fan of Kelly green, here are a few household accessories to add a punch of this green to your spaces. 


kelly green home accessories


From top left: Kelly Green Mosaic Tile, Mosaic Tile Supply, $4.60 per sheet; Vincenza wallpaper, York Wallcoverings;  Figueroa Lamp, Apt2B, $38; Green Ikat Dinnerware, C Wonder, $12;  Agate Plates, Vivre, $60;  Money Finial, Chic Shop LA. $65; Dagmar Pillow, Hus&Hem, 29£;  Privet House Napkin, Set of 4, Target; $16;  Ruffle Flower Knob, The Cross Design, $10; Green Domino Pillow, Pop O Color, $45; Kelly green pouf, Imports from Marrakesh, $225; Emerald Vase, Terrain, $200; Luck Side Table, CB2, $149; Ming Side Chair, Crate+Barrel, $199; Reed Clover Chair, CB2, $100; Clover Bookcase, CB2, $199; 8’ x 10’ Kelly green Zig Zag rug, Dwell Studio, $715


Are you a fan of Kelly green, or is there another shade of green that you prefer?




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