Mantel Styling Tips

We challenged bloggers to style a mantel in 30 seconds. See what they did and get their smart tips for decorating a mantel.

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Have you ever wanted to unlock your door with a fingerprint? Control the indoor and outdoor lights with your phone? You can do those things and more with a smart home. We show you how to get a home with connected technology and remote-operated devices that are designed to improve and simplify your life. We sift through the many options, including smart appliances, new apps, and smartphone and tablet innovation, and only bring you those that can make your life better. We give you tips and tricks for navigating the new home technologies and help you with buying decisions.

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Expert Tips for a Comfortable Home

We asked our favorite designers to share what makes a room comfortable -- and what simple luxuries they can't give up.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Good Lighting

      The most important thing of all is lighting. It should come from lamps, not overhead. So many people forget about it or don't realize the significance of it. Warm, cozy lighting on a dimmer -- always.

      --Laura Hunt,

    • Smart Side Tables

      You wouldn't think of side tables as adding comfort, but they do, because they give everyone in a room a place to put their drink. I think coasters make people feel comfortable, too, because they not only say stay and have a drink, but they remove the worry from guests of wondering if it's safe to put down a glass.

      --Grant K. Gibson;

    • Room for All

      I can't life without my kitchen farm table. The table has two built-in drawers, one for flatware and one for napkins, so casual entertaining is a no-hassle event.

      --Annette Joseph,

    • Inviting Seating

      Everyone needs a super-cozy chair or chaise that hugs you when you sit on it. A pretty chair is not necessarily a comfortable chair, so a "me" chair is a must.

      --Jonathan Ranchman,

    • Piles of Pillows

      I love pillows, generously scaled, plump, full pillows. On a bed, in a chair, perched on a sofa -- I think beautifully finished pillows add a coziness that's easy to layer into a space at little cost.

      -- Patrice Cowan Bevans,

    • Plush Bedding

      I would be in such dread without my down comforter with Egyptian cotton duvet. Not only does it look fabulous, but it keeps me so warm and cozy.

      --Nadia Geller,

    • Dining Room

      Our dining room table and chairs. We have weekly dinner parties for friends and they always take place around this table, which belonged to my great-grandfather.

      --John Loceke,

    • Versatile Seating

      Comfort is all about practicality to me. I love to have extra floor pillows in a room. You can store them in a trunk, but it's nice to use them for extra seating or stacked as a foot rest.

      --Jonathan Rachman,

    • Window Treatments

      The addition of beautifully finished drapes or shades are to a room what a great handbag is to someone's day-to-day dressing: You can certainly function without them, but once you have them, you wonder how you lived without.

      --Patrice Cowan Bevans,

    • 10 of 15

      Pretty Flowers

      I think flowers make a room feel more comfortable. I'm not talking about big fancy bouquets, but a single peony or rose in a teacup, or fresh herbs in a wine tumbler -- anything that adds fragrance.

      --Grant K. Gibson;

    • 11 of 15

      Better Bedding

      My husband and I spent a year in the south of France and one of our favorite pastimes was shopping at the fabulous flea markets. Over the year we purchased a really beautiful collection of hand-embroidered, vintage linen sheets. Slipping into those cool sheets, feeling wrapped up in a beautiful piece of history, is a lovely feeling at the end of the day.

      --Jessica Helgerson,

    • 12 of 15

      Treasured Accents

      Comfort is surrounding yourself with special things. I love to collect things in a room. This separates a merely decorated room from a fantastic one.

      --Annette Joseph,

    • 13 of 15

      All the Right Pieces

      Billy Baldwin put it best: No room is comfortable until there are things to "sit upon, put upon, and gaze upon."

      --Elaine Griffin,

    • 14 of 15

      Back Support

      The one thing that makes me most physically comfortable is a back pillow. I use them anywhere I can get away with it. Clients don't realize how much they've been missing until they get a nice lumbar pillow and wonder how they ever got along without it!

      --Laura Hunt,

    • 15 of 15
      Next Slideshow Savvy Decor and Design Ideas Under $50

      Savvy Decor and Design Ideas Under $50

      Achieve fresh style on a budget with these use-anywhere design ideas that are versatile and easy to do.
      Begin Slideshow »



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