29 June 2016

Quick Clicks | Red, White and Blue Room Inspiration

Brilliant and bold, these three colors set the tone for summer celebrations and can add all-American flair to virtually any space. Celebrate the Fourth with red, white and blue decor ideas that put a sophisticated twist on traditional Americana. These 13 rooms prove that a patriotic color palette never loses its appeal. So light a sparkler and enjoy this patriotic inspiration!

22 June 2016

Accessorizing a Bedroom for Under $130

You don't have to spend big bucks to make your bedroom look like a million. It's easy to create a boutique hotel retreat without a great deal of money or effort. We're going to tell you just how we achieved this look by shopping at some of our favorite bargain sources for home decor.

Although we spent the bulk of the decorating budget in the living room, we still wanted to create a chic bedroom but only had $130 to spare. The bed, headboard, lamps, artwork and ottoman were existing pieces. Here's the lowdown on the other items:

  • 10-piece gray, yellow and white bedding set - Big Lots     $ 39.99
  • Yellow, gray and white plush throw - Tuesday Morning    $ 12.99
  • Black wood TV trays - Target  (2 @ $8.99)                             $ 17.98
  • Faux crocodile trays - Hobby Lobby (2 @ $6.99)                 $ 13.98
  • Astor 84" curtain panels - Big Lots (2 @ $10.00)                  $ 20.00
  • 30-84" Silver satin Riley curtain rod set - Big Lots               $ 15.99  
                                                                                               Cost:              $120.93

The bedding worked out beautifully. We didn't want to spend a lot because, as you can see, the dog spends most of her time napping on the bed, so purchasing an inexpensive comforter and companion pieces was imperative. Our plush fleece throw looks great with the bedding and can be tossed in the washer and dryer once a week for a freshen-up.

The bedroom window faces east, so early morning sun is an issue. The window has blinds but needed a little something else to help block the light. We found curtain panels that work perfectly with the color palette and provided just the right amount of darkness. Wanting to create the look of butler tray stands for the bedside tables, we paired TV trays with these adorable croc serving trays. They gave us just the look we wanted for a fraction of the price.
Unfortunately, the bedding set from Big Lots is no longer featured on their website. We got it on closeout. And since Tuesday Morning doesn't have an online site, we couldn't give you a specific link to the plush fleece throw either. The only item we still need to purchase is an area rug when the budget allows. We're pleased to report the final tally with tax left us with a few cents to spare!


16 June 2016

Top Flower Picks for a Summer Cutting Garden

If you have a flower garden you’re probably all too familiar with this quandary: You spend a lot of time and energy creating a dazzling summer flowerbed only to rob it of cuttings to create beautiful indoor arrangements. So what to do? This summer try planting two separate beds—one in the front strictly for aesthetics and one in the back for cuttings.

Now that we’ve got that problem solved, it’s time to pick flower varieties that will make the most of your summer bouquets and your home’s curb appeal. We’ve researched the top flowers that not only look fabulous in the garden but also in an arrangement. Our favorites were chosen based on their bloom times, vase life and unique appearance.

Few flowers will brighten a bouquet like these hardy little perennials. They produce from summer into fall supplying you with continual blooms. People often mistake them for daisies because of their long slender petals surrounding a bright yellow center.

Choose from 180 aster varieties in a lovely range of colors including purple, pink and white. Asters are perfect for fresh summer arrangements and can be dried and used during any season.

These perennials feature succulent leaves and stems crowned with tight clusters of small blooms. Sedum is an easy-care plant that tolerates summer heat and drought conditions. Raspberry, blue, yellow and variegated varieties are just a sampling of your color options.

“Autumn Joy”, “Frosty Morn” and “Matrona” are some of the taller varieties that make the best cut flowers. Choose stems with clusters of full blooms and the base of the stem at a 45-degree angle. Place the stems immediately in water and they’ll up to a week or more.

These flowers resemble roses on steroids with their ample, lush blooms that herald the beginning of summer. The perennials easy to grow and require little maintenance. Peonies are quick growers and seem to produce masses of flowers overnight. This means you must be resourceful in order to extend the blooms for cut arrangements.

When the blossoms first show a tiny sliver of color, cut the stems and remove most of the leaves. Wrap several stems together in tissue paper, indicating the cutting date on the outside. Place them in a very cold refrigerator and take the stems as you need them. Recut the stems and place them in water. Within a couple of days you’ll have full peony blooms!

Even though they’re early bloomers, you can enjoy their lush greenery all summer. The deep green, mounded plants are beautiful on their own. You can also use their foliage in your mid to late season flower arrangements.


Yarrow’s delicate and aromatic blossoms are well suited for floral arrangements and a great addition to your perennial garden. This drought-tolerant plant features flat-topped flower clusters in shades of yellow, white and pink, just to name a few.

Most yarrow plants are roughly 2 feet tall, making them the perfect size for flower arrangements. Cut the stem at about 18 inches and remove the leaves. Keep the stems in cool water and they will last a week to ten days.

Big, bold blooms and a rainbow of vivid colors are the hallmarks of dahlias. These tuberous flowers are spectacular in the garden and in an arrangement all to themselves. They possess the best characteristics of both annuals and perennials. They bloom continually and will come back each year if protected from freezes.

Dahlias are ideal cutting flowers. The more you cut them, the more buds they will produce. Their vase life is between four to ten days. Beginning in late spring, you’ll find dahlias at the nursery in 1-gallon pots, or you can plant them from tubers in early spring.

Russian Sage
While not commonly recognized as a cut flower, Russian sage is a unique filler for floral arrangements. Their tall silvery stems are covered in hundreds of tiny deep blue blooms that contrast beautifully with dense, gray-green foliage.

Russian sage produces blooms from mid to late summer and resembles a low growing shrub. It is a very easy plant to cultivate—in fact they almost thrive on neglect making them perfect for dry, hot zones with minimal irrigation.

These dense plants may not produce for long, but from early to mid summer they will provide you with prolific tubular flowers along their tall stems. Penstemon, a western U.S. native plant loves heat and sun. Also known as beardtongue, this prairie flower attracts hummingbirds and looks right at home in wildflower gardens.

Penstemon spikes grow 1 to 3 feet tall and come in a range of colors including blue, pink, purple, red and white depending on the variety. They are an easy care and low maintenance plant and great source for cut flowers. Penstemon’s unusual trumpet-shaped blossoms work very well in simple arrangements.

We’re used to seeing begonias in pots or as border plants, but not necessarily in flower arrangements. These annuals are highly regarded for their exquisite colors such as red, salmon, yellow and pink. They thrive in warm, moist climates and bloom throughout the summer months. They do particularly well in shade and partial shade making them a versatile addition to north-facing gardens.

You may not realize it but begonias make fabulous cut flowers. They mix well with other garden flowers but really shine when arranged in a casual bouquet of begonias in varying colors. Also consider using fancy begonia leaves as foliage filler for your flower arrangements.


09 June 2016

Choosing a Kitchen Sink You'll Love

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the sink is the heart of the kitchen—taking on the lion’s share of the daily food prep and clean up. Even the best of kitchen sinks can’t handle that amount of abuse forever. Most sinks typically hold up for 15 to 20 years before they start to show signs of wear and tear. No matter what type of material they’re made from, the finish will ultimately dent, chip, stain or fade.

Although you adore your kitchen, putting up with that old, worn out sink definitely sours the romance. It’s time to replace your kitchen sink with one that’s the perfect blend of aesthetics and function--one that you’ll love for years to come!

Choose a sink material that will hold up to the rigors of use and will look great with your plumbing fixtures, appliances, cabinets, flooring and backsplash tile. Here are a few options to consider:

Solid Surface sinks are made from a combination of acrylic and polyester resins, marble dust, bauxite and other natural and man-made ingredients depending on the manufacturer. The non-porous material contains pigment throughout so scratches and burn marks can be lightly sanded to remove.

Cast Iron sinks are just what the name implies—they’re made from iron that is cast in the shape of a basin. The extremely heavy iron is coated in a glossy enamel providing a hard-as-nails, non-porous surface that is easy to clean. Modern cast iron sinks will not crack or dent like their stainless steel or solid surface counterparts. They come in a rainbow of beautiful shiny hues to match any color scheme.

Stainless Steel provides the best of all worlds with regard to price, durability and maintenance. If you can, opt for the highest quality stainless steel sink you can afford. Look for thicker gauge stainless to cut down on dents, scuffs and vibration. Find a sink basin with foam insulation on the underside to reduce noise. In addition, the better the stainless, the less water spotting and easier cleanup.

Soapstone is a practical and stylish choice for any kitchen. An integrated soapstone sink looks amazing with matching countertops, but will also work beautifully with alternative counter surfaces like wood, quartz, stainless or concrete. Soapstone develops a patina over time changing to a soft gray hue. Simply wipe it down with mineral oil to maintain its dark charcoal color. This stone is germ-free, heat proof and impervious to acid and water stains.

Fireclay sinks are crafted from clay and protected with a porcelain enamel glaze. They’re fired at extremely high temperatures to fuse the enamel to the clay creating a solid sink with a shiny, durable finish. Most farmhouse or apron sinks are of the fireclay variety. Colors are very limited—so if you like white, you’ll like fireclay. The downside: its surface can stain if not cleaned immediately and the enamel tends to crack and chip with age.

Copper will give your kitchen an organic, rustic feel with its warm glow and handcrafted appearance. It’s a metal that will never oxidize and requires little in the way of upkeep. Copper blends well with wood and stone surfaces and takes on a fabulous patina with use. This metal also has anti-microbial properties making it perfect for the kitchen.

The size sink you choose depends on its intended use. If you only use it to rinse dishes and tidy up the kitchen you can probably get by with a standard size sink. For the resident gourmet who cooks every day and uses the sink for veggie prep and washing pots, a wide and deep sink is probably the right choice.

When replacing an existing sink, look for one with exact dimensions of the old one if you want to keep things simple. If the cabinet width and depth allow, you can make the cutout bigger and install a larger sink. The interior width and depth of the cabinet will determine how large you can go. Standard base cabinets will easily accommodate a 22-inch by 24-inch single basin sink.

Obviously, if you’re designing a new kitchen or doing a complete remodel, your only limitations are the location of the plumbing.

Determining the number and placement of sink basins, or bowls, is based on the sink’s basic functions. For small kitchens, a single bowl sink is adequate for most normal activities. Double bowls of equal or staggered size are the ideal solution for prep and cleanup.

Single bowl sinks offer enough room for large dishes and oversized pots and pans. They take up the least amount of space but can be as wide as 33 inches.

Double bowl sinks make cleanup a snap with separate basins for washing and rinsing dishes. You can find double bowl sinks up to 42 inches wide.

Triple bowl sinks may not be as common, but they function well in large family kitchens. They typically offer a smaller integrated third bowl for food prep. Most triple bowl sinks measure 44 inches in width.

You have several installation options for your new kitchen sink. Part of the choice is based solely on aesthetics and the other depends on countertop construction and sink material.

Drop-in or top mount sinks are placed into a cutout in the countertop. The sink edge rests on the counter and is sealed with silicone to prevent leaks.

Undermount sinks install under the countertop and are secured in place by clips and silicone caulk. The streamlined look is great for contemporary kitchens. There is no lip between the countertop and the sink making for easy cleanup.

Integrated sinks are part of the countertop so there are no seams, rims or edges to contend with. The clean lines and smooth surface of this design works particularly well in modern, European style kitchens.

Many sink manufacturers offer a complement of kitchen tools that make your sink area more efficient and help to optimize space. Some of the features include custom accessories like adjustable cutting boards, basin racks, cocktail stations, colanders, knife holders and rinse baskets that fit right onto the sink. Now your sink is a fully-functioning work station!


02 June 2016

Best Ways to Clean Upholstered Furniture

Upholstered furniture is commonly overlooked at house cleaning time. It's not that we don't want it to be clean, we're just focused on more obvious household chores like dusting, mopping and cleaning the bathroom.

Whether you recently scored a brand new sectional or want to share the love with an older furniture piece, its care and maintenance should be a priority. A spilled glass of fine red or tiny chocolate fingerprints can ruin fabric if you don’t know how to deal with stains. And don’t forget about your favorite leather club chair—it too needs a little TLC to keep it soft and supple.

Upholstered furniture is a big investment so it’s probably a smart idea to learn how to extends its life keep it looking good with our quick and easy tips.

Vacuuming upholstered furniture is so darned easy, but for some reason it’s something we rarely think about doing. You don’t need to do it every week—once every three months is fine. Use the upholstery tool to loosen and remove dust from the back, arms and seat cushions.

Take off the cushions, vacuum up any loose dirt with the crevice tool. Vacuum the sides and back once in a while to keep the dust and allergens at bay. Vacuuming also works for leather furniture providing your attachment is soft enough to prevent scratches.

Slipcover Maintenance
If you have little ones running around the house, maybe, just maybe you had the forethought to buy a slipcovered sofa. If that’s the case, we congratulate you! Slipcovers are great because stains can be pretreated and the cover tossed directly into the wash.

Wash the cover in cool water using a mild detergent. Partially dry to eliminate wrinkles and put it back on the furniture piece to finish drying—this will prevent the fabric from shrinking.

Spot Cleaning Products
Accidental spills are inevitable. They’re a fact of life. Bearing this in mind, you need to arm yourself with several good spot cleaners to take care of stains as quickly as possible. Given the huge selection of products to choose from, you’ll have to conduct a few experiments to see which ones work the best on your upholstery.

There are all-purpose products and even specialized cleaners that remove specific stains like blood, wine, dirt or grass. Whichever you choose, test the product before use to make sure it won’t bleach or damage your slipcover.

Leather Care
Great care must be taken when cleaning and maintaining leather upholstery. To prevent leather from drying out and protecting it from normal wear, scratches and stains, it’s best to treat it with a combination leather cleaner, conditioner and protector.

You can purchase these products from the manufacturer, leather retailer or professional cleaning company. Before you do anything, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding general and spot cleaning.

Professional Services
If you’re concerned about damaging your upholstered furniture by cleaning it yourself, you may want to invest in a professional service to handle the job. While is the most expensive option, it can extend the life of your upholstery. You can choose between dry and steam cleaning depending on the fabric content and durability.

Dry cleaning is great because it allows you to use your furniture right away with no drying time involved. If you sign a contract, you may even be able to add spot cleaning on demand.

Cleaning Wood or Metal Trim

According to most furniture manufacturers, the best way to care for wood or metal trim on upholstered pieces is to use a clean, lint-free cotton cloth to remove dust and oily fingerprints.

 If your furniture legs and arms have intricate turnings or scrollwork, sweep away dirt with a cosmetic or paint brush. Metal surfaces can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. Do not use harsh cleaners—you’ll run the risk of removing protective finishes.

jinkazamah via flickr

25 May 2016

Stylish Shade Ideas for Your Patio

What’s more fun than an afternoon backyard barbeque, cocktails al fresco or a fancy garden party? Unless you’re fortunate enough to pick cloudy days for all your outdoor gatherings, you’ll need to find a source of shade to protect your guests from the effects of the scorching summer sun. 

Not to worry, there are plenty of stylish solutions for creating ample shade for your patio, backyard or pool deck. Keep your friends and family cool and out of the sun’s harmful rays with these super shady ideas!

This is probably the cheapest sun blocker around. Patio umbrellas range in size from 5 feet up to 12 feet in diameter. Umbrellas are perfect to protect small seating or dining areas and can be set up anywhere and on any surface.

Many models can be had for $100 or less. They’re highly portable so they can follow the party anywhere. Umbrellas come in a wide variety of colors and patterns to coordinate with your outdoor decor. You can also choose from different styles and like cantilever, market and parasol.

A pergola is typically made from wood and attaches to the house like a patio cover or can be freestanding like a gazebo. This traditional Italian design consists of four structural columns and a roof system of beams and cross rafters that help block the sun while keeping the roof open.

Pergolas create architectural interest unlike other common patio structures. For a classic look, plant trailing vines at the base of the columns. The greenery will create additional shade and a garden-like environment.

Gazebos date back to ancient Egypt and are round or octagonal in shape. They feature a conical roof, floorboards and side railing. Traditional gazebos are permanent structures made from wood or metal, however portable versions are now available that consist of a fabric canopy over a metal armature.

Like a freestanding pergola, a gazebo is the ideal addition to your landscapes. In a garden, gazebos make a lovely focal point and are perfect for taking in the surrounding views while offering shade from the sun. 

Retractable Awning
Retractable awnings are weather proof fabric shades attached to the side of a house. They can either be opened via a manual crank or motorized system. They are designed to cover a large area to keep the entire patio shaded.

The lateral arm design creates a flat or slightly angled fabric “roof” that can be outfitted with a drop valance to shield guests from intense late afternoon sun. These awnings not only protect your outdoor furniture from the effects of the sun, they can also protect your indoor upholstery and flooring. Like umbrella fabric, you can choose from many different colors and designs.

Sail Shade

This type of outdoor shade is based on the design of a ship’s sail. Sail shades are durable high-density mesh fabric shapes stretched between three or four anchor points. They provide a dramatic and sculptural way to shade your outdoor entertaining area.

Choose between triangles or squares in different shapes and colors to create a stylishly modern outdoor space. They can block up to 95 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays and lower the temperature around 15 degrees. Sail shade installation can range from a weekend DIY project to a job best handled by professionals.


19 May 2016

Color Cache | Gray

It seems gray has become the go-to neutral. We thought this color trend would eventually ebb but it seems to have taken on a life of its own. There are a few reasons it has staying power: It’s more sophisticated than say, beige, it adds depth to pastels and gray is the perfect foil for bright colors. Add a little or a lot to a room to create an elegant and timeless palette.

Understanding Gray
Gray is one of the most misunderstood colors in the decorating world. While on the surface it may seem unemotional and boring, gray is actually confident, reliable and composed. But it can be transformed into an exciting hue depending on its particular undertones. Add black and gray becomes dramatic. A little blue will give it a cool, icy feel. A dash of pink will heat things up.

Decorating with Gray
If you’ve decided to commit to gray, you have to decide which gray you want. Getting the right shade of gray can be a tricky process. If your room has blues and greens, you definitely want to avoid a warm gray. Conversely, a room with red, orange and yellow accents will look decidedly off with cool gray walls.

Opt for flat gray paint instead of a sheen unless you want your room to look like an industrial shipping container. Even though some designers are going with an easy-clean eggshell finish for busy family households, flat gray paint will actually hide flaws nicely.

For a crisp, tailored look consider bright white trim, crown and base molding to accent your gray walls. If you think stark white is too harsh, choose a white with a touch of gray like White Dove OC-17 by Benjamin Moore.

Gray is reminiscent of shadow, so you’ll want to include lots of natural and artificial illumination. Use gray in a room that has plenty of windows. Make sure you also brighten things up with a combination of ambient, access and task lighting with table lamps, chandeliers, floor lamps and sconces. Layered lighting brightens the gray and creates a flattering effect.

 Emily May via Flicker

11 May 2016

5 Easiest and Tastiest Herbs to Grow

Stop paying high prices for packages of fresh herbs at the grocery store when you can easily grow them at home. Stake out a small patch of ground in your backyard, plant a container garden or tend a few pots on your kitchen windowsill. Fresh herbs are chocked full of nutrients and flavor to perk up your favorite recipes. Grow herbs for use in everyday recipes and dry them for winter soups and stews. It's easy to start a herb garden with these popular varieties.

1. Parsley
Parsley is one of the most common herbs used in cooking. The two main types are curly and flat leaf parsley. Curly parsley is familiar as a garnish and has a very pronounced flavor when used in cooking. Flat leaf or Italian parsley has a subdued flavor and is used in sauces, salads and soup. Plant your parsley in well-drained, loamy soil for optimum results. Easy-to-grow parsley thrives in directly sunlight, but tolerates partial shade.

2. Mint
Mint is an easy growing perennial used in variety of recipes or as a flavoring and garnish for drinks. Mint prefers moist soil and partial shade. However, once the plants are established, little care is required to maintain this hardy herb. Mint will overtake your garden if left unattended, so it is recommended to use mint as a container plant.

3. Thyme
Thyme is a pungent herb featured in meat and poultry recipes. Thyme is happy in your outdoor herb garden or in a container. Plant creeping thyme in your landscape beds an alternative ground cover. Thyme is not particular about soil or nutrients. Just provide the plants with a well-drained, general purpose potting soil and plenty of sun.

4. Basil
Basil is an annual herb notably used in Italian dishes. This herb is available in dozens of cultivars. Common sweet basil has a spicy flavor with notes of licorice and pepper. Basil is a relatively tall plant, growing 1 to 2 feet tall, and is at home in the garden or a terracotta pot in a sunny corner of your kitchen. Plant basil in rich potting soil and maintain a high level of moisture, but don't overwater. Start basil from seed in the kitchen or purchase a plant from the garden center. Harvest leaves often to promote abundant foliage.

5. Rosemary
Rosemary is a fragrant, attractive addition to your landscape. Purchase low-growing or upright rosemary plants. Plant your rosemary outdoors in containers or in the ground as shrubs. Rosemary is ideal as an aromatic ground cover. In the spring, rosemary produces sweet-smelling, diminutive blue flowers that are quite attractive to bees. Purchase bagged potting soil or amend your landscape soil with potting soil. Place rosemary plants in a sunny location and water liberally when the soil becomes dry. Rosemary is a hardy plant that stands up to frost, but it will not survive a hard freeze.

If you want to cultivate your own herb garden, you can either start it from seed or purchase small plants from the local nursery or home improvement center. Whichever way you choose, you will thoroughly enjoy growing and harvesting these herbs for your culinary endeavors.

04 May 2016

Design Crush | What the Heck Is Shiplap?

Shiplap is the rustic building material that’s got everyone buzzing these days. If you’re not lucky enough to have it hiding behind your drywall, you can purchase shiplap pine board from the local home improvement center and recreate a room à la HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Whether you choose the real deal, MDF or a trompe l’oeil version, shiplap will add texture and character to any wall surface indoors or out.

So, what the heck is shiplap?

Shiplap is horizontal wood plank paneling originally used in buildings like storage sheds, barns or even camp homes. It’s typically made from pine or cedar and features a rabbet along one edge and a slot along the other so the boards overlap slightly and fit together to create a seamless look.

The tight seal created by the panel design made it perfect for siding that could withstand the elements and didn’t require much upkeep. Shiplap was also used for interior walls in pre-war homes, but in most cases was subsequently covered in drywall to give rooms a more contemporary appearance.

 White shiplap walls are perfect for a gender-neutral nursery from The Mountain View Cottage.

Studio McGee creates an indoor-outdoor feel for the mudroom with shiplap walls.

 Original unfinished shiplap in this Houston residence courtesy of Martha Turner at Sotheby's.

 Lamps Plus shows us that shiplap also works beautifully in damp areas like the master bath.

 Sarah at All Things With Purpose did this great faux shiplap backsplash with vinyl flooring planks.

 Decorpad goes against the grain to prove shiplap can be installed vertically.

 The Wicker House teaches you how to create super easy shiplap with paint and a pencil.

 Shiplap in a minimal Hamptons bedroom from Remodelista.


28 April 2016

Quick Clicks | Warm Weather Finds

Hard to believe it's almost time for grass mowing, lazy summer afternoons and backyard grilling. If you're enjoying warmer weather, no doubt you've already hit the stores for outdoor decor inspiration. If you're still in the grip of spring's chill, don't give up hope--we're here to lift you out of the cold weather doldrums. Feast your eyes on these fabulous finds and remember...warm temps and loads of sunshine are right around the corner!

Arabesque Square Outdoor Pillow Crate and Barrel $35.00 | Bordeaux Planter, Tall Gardener's Supply Co. $115.00 | Nouveau Stripe Tablecloth Bed Bath and Beyond $7.99 - $14.99 | Threshold Harper Metal Patio Bistro Set Target $184.00 | Safavieh Quatrefoil Garden Stool Goedeker's $137.99 | California Umbrella 9 ft Home Depot $41.72 | Khadir Metal Garden Bench by Bungalow Rose Wayfair 245.99 | Tidal Beverage Dispenser Frontgate $79.50 | Certified International Barcelona by Jennifer Brinley 8-pc. Beverage Set Kohl's 54.99 | Wicker String Chair At Home $59.99 | Summer Stripes Beverage Tub with Stand Personal Creations $69.99 | Andros Outdoor Rug Multi One Kings Lane $19.00 - $399.00