April 2013

Keeping the home organized is a situation we all face and with kids running around, the challenge is magnified! Last year I offered up ten smart ideas for family organization. To build on that topic, here are even more strategic solutions for keeping your busy home ship shape.

Create a Drop Zone.  Having a spot where all things land has its advantage: when you need them again (hopefully) there they are. Isolate the everyday backpacks, shoes, and coats in a single zone to ease the transition out the door each day.

family drop zone bhg


Make a Family Binder.  With school in session, a single binder filled with contacts and schedules is a life saver but just as convenient for summer activities when kids camps, activities, and the information on the family vacation is all centralized in one place. 

binder for activities bhg


Office Supply Central. If you lack the space for a corner office, no worries. Set aside a cabinet and shelf where supplies are stored for easy access.

office supply cabinet


Mail Zone.  We live in a digital age where much of our correspondence and bill paying occurs online, yet there is still the need to have a place for outgoing mail, especially for those cards for friends and family to commemorate birthdays, holidays, or special occasions. Keeping the zone front and center helps prevent your sentiment from being a belated one. 

cards and stamps


Receipt & Warranty Readiness.  Often it’s necessary to hold on to receipts for reimbursement, returns, or future tax purposes, and when something needs fixed, the warranty is a document you’ll need to pull out for reference. Storing them in a single spot means when you’re most in need, the document will be there.

  file storage bhg


You’ve Got Game.  Store the games you play in a centralized spot (perhaps a coffee table with drawers or a nearby cabinet) to inspire another competitive round of family fun.

coffee table game storage


A Place for Everything.  The best technique for avoiding the clutter creep is to have a place for everything from sports equipment and seasonal attire.

baskets on shelf bhg


What strategies do you use to keep your family home organized?


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Remember last year when I was advocating for breaking up dining sets?  I still stand by that opinion because the principle makes for good design. Dining spaces are more interesting when the chairs and table are not a matching set! How do you bring a dining room with a matching set into this century?  Here are a few ideas!

Replace a traditional chandelier with a contemporary orb version and remove the matching chairs from the space to use elsewhere in the home. Bring in upholstered chairs in two tone fabrics like this geometric yellow paired with navy velvet and nailhead trim.

yellow and navy chairs


Mix modern zig zag velvet chairs with chinoiserie print for an unexpected twist on tradition. 

zig zag and chinoiserie chairs


Partner a comfy wingback chair covered in linen with a barnwood table and benches for a welcome juxtaposition of textures (soft meets rough).

rustic table wingback chairs


Or instead of investing in upholstered chairs, pair your rustic table with brightly painted mismatched versions for a welcoming dining space.


Update a traditional matching set by replacing the seating with curvy tufted chairs upholstered in a pale fabric to contrast with the dark rich wood – a zebra motif rug also adds a modern edge. 

white tufted chairs on zebra rug


Modern Louis Ghost chairs are an unexpected addition of lucite to a traditional space, but just the right dose to keep it fresh and fun.

lucite chairs in traditional dining room


Industrial chairs and wire pendants bring cool metals tones to this farmhouse dining room dominated by wood surfaces, and their presence gives it contemporary appeal.

industrial farmhouse mix


If your style leans traditional or European, continue the theme with upholstered French linen chairs but mix the wood tones to keep it interesting.

French style chairs


Another easy way to modernize your dining room is it to slide a few chairs over and make room for an bench upholstered in a complementary geometric or botanical fabric.

upholsted bench in dining room


If you’re not prepared to replace the matching chairs with new ones, there is an easy alternative. Paint your existing chairs in a fresh color or in classic black or white and reupholster the seats in a pretty patterned fabric.

black chairs pedestal table

painted reuphostered chairs

It’s a no fail approach to giving your dining space a fresh modern look in a weekend!


When I remodeled my kitchen, I chose a classic white brick pattern ceramic tile, however whenever I spy an incredible patterned kitchen backsplash I pause to admire it for its striking effect. Opting for a bold pattern in a kitchen takes commitment and courage, but the risk is rewarding given the stunning result.

geometric backsplash bhg

Mesh mosaic or brick pattern tiles in neutrals or pale hues are common choices in many remodels, but there is a bolder and braver alternative – an intricate ceramic tile installed high up on the wall so the pattern becomes a focal point that demands attention. 

patterned backsplash behind window bhg


We’re fortunate in modern times to have countless tile options available and in various colorways, and there is always an opportunity for creativity such as combining neutral and colorful 3 x 6” tiles in a herringbone pattern.

colorful herringbone backsplash bhg


If you love the idea of pattern but want less of it, minimize the impact of the repeat by keeping it contained only to the section of wall between lower and upper cabinetry.

patterned backsplash bhg


Perhaps you’ve fallen in love with a patterned ceramic tile or exotic motif  – why not pull a color from it and repeat it on the cabinetry?

yellow patterened backsplash bhg


For those less inclined to use patterned tiles for an entire kitchen backsplash surround, incorporate a smaller section behind the range to satisfy your craving and to also add a dash of color in one contained spot. 

blue lattice backsplash bhg


A white backsplash is a timeless choice and complements any cabinetry color, but there is always the alternative of a unique or unexpected shape. Consider a white Moroccan inspired motif which satisfies a desire for clean, light and bright, but still includes an pattern with character and movement.

moroccan inspired backsplash bhg


What style of backsplash do you have in your kitchen?  Have you opted for something simple or do you also crave something with pattern or detail?




I was analyzing all the ways I organize around the house and as I looked in each room I noticed they all have one thing in common – there’s always a basket that is storing something from blankets to pillows to smaller necessities. Talk about versatile, baskets in all their shapes and varieties are our best friends when it comes to organizing all those things we treasure.

Baskets are made with plant materials, often woven from grasses, and because of it are one of the many ways to add texture to your home. Here’s a look at a few of the smart ways to use them in the rooms all around your house.

Mudrooms and entries are drops zones and one of the best places to use baskets to store flip flops, extra shoes, or pet leashes. Consider assigning one to every family member for easy sorting.

baskets in entry bhg


In a reading nook or corner, baskets corral your favorite magazines for that moment when you finally sit down to savor your favorite publications. 

basket storange on shelf bhg


Using baskets in a playroom or kid space makes perfect sense. Store toys, games, and books, or get creative and assign a letter to a series suspended on a wall for a reminder where to keep those extra special things.

playroom basket storage bhg


When styling bookshelves, baskets fill empty spaces in between your favorite pieces on display and also hide the less than pretty things you want to keep for future use.

sitting room baskets bhg


In the bathroom a series of dark baskets adds stylish contrast to all white shelving and collects everyday necessities such as washcloths, soaps, lotions, and toiletries.

baskets for bathroom storage bhg


In the home office or craft room, a basket will hold just about anything from supplies to mementos to materials for correspondence.

baskets in home office bhg


Grab extra storage space in the bedroom by keeping off-season linens in woven baskets under the bed.

underbed storage bhg


Pantries are perfect perches for a collection of baskets, house apples or onions or potatoes, napkins and paper plates too!

basket in pantry bhg


In the kitchen, use a woven tray to corral culinary essentials in an attractive collection.

baskets in kitchen bhg


I’ve shopped for affordable baskets at several retailers including Pier One Imports, World Market, Target, Wal-Mart, and Michaels craft stores. Crate + Barrel, Pottery Barn, and The Container Store are also excellent sources for a wide variety of stylish storage solutions.

Where do you shop for baskets for your home, and in what ways do you use them around the house?



I was contemplating painting or recovering the barstools in our kitchen so I went in search of inspiration and look what I found! Seven different styles of kitchen barstools to inspire a fresh change if you’re seeking one too.

Classic. Criss cross or straight up and down slats are the hallmark of a classic barstool. With some varieties you can remove the seat cover and change it to a fabric you prefer, others are designed to attach chair pads to their seats.

classic criss cross barstools

classic kitchen barstools bhg


Industrial. Made of metal and often backless, and industrial style stool brings edgy contrast to a kitchen space filled with painted and wood surfaces. 

industrial metal stools in kitchen bhg

industrial style black stools bhg


Leather.  Leather is a forgiving, easy to clean hide and its surface adds a warm patina to a kitchen space. Find them in both square and round shapes for tucking under islands or peninsulas.

leather barstool bhg

leather and wood stools bhg


Cottage.  Sometimes called a farmhouse or country style, cottage stools often have rush seat chairs and ladder backs. They’re commonly available in black, white, and wood tones, but also look charming when painted bright colors.

cottage style barstools

mint cottage style kitchen bhg


Retro. Inspired by the diners of the 1950s, a retro barstool is chrome with rounded tubular supports. They’re a nostalgic and fun addition to kitchens and bars.

eat in kitchen with stools bhg

retro stools in kitchen


Contemporary.  Kitchens with clean lines and modern finishes call for contemporary stools to complement the style of the space, and their sleek and chic shapes add a sophisticated touch.

contemporary stools in kitchen bhg

contemporary bar stools


Colorful.  No one can argue that a dose of color adds a cheerful touch to a kitchen and- basic barstools can easily be spray painted to add a happy hue.

bright painted stools bhg


green counter stools bhg


What style of barstool do you have in your kitchen?



I have outdoor spaces on my mind this week since a new rug arrived for the courtyard and some  bower vine plants are awaiting transplant so they may grow up and over trellises against a wall. Now is also the time retailers begin revealing their new outdoor collections and how refreshing to see fresh patterns and bright colors once again available for our outdoor rooms.

The benefit of warmer weather means we can extend our living areas beyond our interior walls into the great outdoors, to our patios, porches, courtyards, and lawns. Adding comfort and style to those outdoor rooms means applying many of the same principles as you would to interior spaces.  

Gather Round.  An area rug is a great way to anchor a sitting room – look for indoor/outdoor versions that will maintain their beauty while exposed to elements of sun, moisture, and occasional debris. 

adirondacks on porch bhg


outdoor patio earthy palette bhg


Comfort + Color.  We crave both comfort and doses of color in our interiors – repeat those same elements in your outdoor spaces too. Nature isn’t shy about putting on a colorful show so follow its cue and combine your favorite hues to create an inviting outdoor living room.

simple chairs and table bhg


comfortable and colorful outdoor sofa bhg


Time to Entertain.  Sunshine and weekends put everyone in a celebratory mood, combine good eats, tasty beverages, and invite a small crowd over for a relaxing party steps from your back door.

cozy outdoor seating bhg

living room under arbor bhg


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