4 Easy-Care Flower Beds

Add color to your garden from spring to fall with our water-wise favorites

All-star perennials

Late-blooming coreopsis, echinacea, salvia, sedum, and yarrow add vibrant colors to borders from mid-summer into fall.

Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’

Evergreen in zones 20-24. The graceful, tubular flowers of this low-water perennial attract pollinating insects and hummingbirds. Plant in full sun and prune back in early spring. Grows up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’

Deep berry-colored blossoms grow on long upright stems, making them ideal to cut for bouquets. Plant in full sun. Grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. Zones A2, A3; 1-24.

Salvia ‘Sierra de San Antonio’

The slender stems of this rounded sage are flecked with pale yellow and pink flowers. Plant it in full sun and shape in spring, before new growth appears. Grows 2 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Zones 8–24.
Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’
Flowers turn from dusty pink to bright red in fall. They’re especially pretty paired with Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’, a mounding grass. Grows 1 to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, in full sun or part shade. Zones 1–10, 14–24.

Tea garden

Purple-flowered Anise hyssop, berry-colored Bee balm, English lavender, and feathery white chamomile thrive planted together in a sunny, semicircular bed in the Sunset Test Garden. But this is more than just a summer flower garden—all of the plants can be snipped and steeped for refreshing herbal teas.

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’)

Purple flowers top chartreuse foliage of this stunning perennial. Both the anise-scented blossoms and leaves can be used in teas. Plants reach 3-4 feet tall and 2-feet wide and grow well with full sun and moderate water. Zones A3; 1-24.

Bee balm (Monarda didyma)

Bright pink flowers attract bees and have a mild citrus flavor steeped in tea. The leaves can also be eaten and have a fragrance like a cross between basil and mint. Grows in a bushy form 2-4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide and needs full sun and moderate water. Zones A2, A3; 1-11,14-17.

Summer edibles

Chamomile, cosmos, coreopsis, and sunflowers planted in the summer edible bed in the Sunset Test Garden do double duty. The blooms add sunny colors to the bed and attract pollinators for a better veggie yield.

Blooming raised bed

Blooming thyme and golden feverfew spill over the sides of this narrow raised bed below bright yellow coreopsis and trailing amaranth ‘Green Tails’. All thrive in full sun with low to moderate water.

Coreopsis & chamomile

Edible German chamomile looks charming planted with yellow coreopsis. Both plants grow well in full sun and can be picked to add to bouquets.

12 Landscaping Ideas That Will Transform Your Yard

Check out these tips from the pros to add color, texture, functionality, and points of interest to your yard.

These landscaping ideas can add interest to your lawn and boost your curb appeal. Use these tips to create a timeless landscape that is easy to maintain and great to look at.

Choose Native Plants

Just like you should plant grass that is specific to your region, pick native plants for less upkeep. By choosing plants that are native or grow well in a specific zone or area, that will keep water and pruning prices down, and the plants will thrive.

Use Potted Plants

Incorporating pots into landscaping makes a yard not only more low-maintenance but also more versatile. Potted plants are an easy way to add color to different parts of a yard, and they are mobile. For an added pop of color, coordinate the flowers to the season. Try whites and pinks in the spring and summer; switch to yellows and reds in the fall.

Create Curved Lines

Landscapers often add edging around flower gardens, the house foundation, and sometimes sidewalks and driveways. Installing the edging in curves rather than perfectly straight lines adds appeal and character. The edging is permanent, so it enhances the landscape all year long and it’s an easy way to go from boring to beautiful.

Combine a Variety of Plants

Choose a diverse range of plants that bloom at different times so ornamental leaves will be visible all season long. If all the flowers bloom at the same time, they’ll look attractive during that time frame but will lack color the rest of the year. Try using a perennial like Rozanne geranium because it blooms from June through October.

Consider Artificial Grass

Have kids? Or pets? Don’t be afraid to give artificial grass a shot. Artificial grass is the best way to make a yard dog-proof and kid-proof because there’s no way they’re going to run around and tear up your grass. Plus, it requires zero upkeep on the weekends.

Illuminate Focal Points and Walkways

Attractive landscaping deserves to be seen after hours, which is where landscape lights come into play. The lights play many roles, from adding to the home’s attractiveness to illuminating steps and sidewalks for safety to showcasing points of interest in the landscape. Placing lights alongside paths and walkways is one of their most common uses, although that doesn’t mean they have to be set in straight lines at prescribed intervals. You can place them on alternate sides of a sidewalk to break up a line.

Plant Lavender

Lavender adds a relaxing aroma, a burst of color, and it needs to be watered only once or twice a week if you don’t live in a climate with regular rain. It also doubles as a bug repellent, so plant it near your patio.

Add Outdoor Seating

Installing a patio or bench near the edge of your lawn, away from the house, provides an outdoor escape. Concrete will do, or you can use stones or pavers. Building it near trees or tall flowers gives the area some privacy, while chairs or benches let you sit or lie down to read or nap. Keep it 6 to 8 feet from your property line and surround it with flowers.

Make a Natural Water Feature

A water feature—even a small, self-contained unit that stands alone on a patio—should look like it belongs in its surroundings. You can use natural stone to build it up, or you can use the same stone or material that you find on the house. Do not to use too many materials or the effort may backfire. A good rule is to use no more than three elements in one area, or the area can get too busy.

Connect Points of Interest with a Walkway

Instead of trampling down the lawn and making a makeshift path of dead grass between your patio, fire pit, and garden, create an attractive walkway using concrete stepping stones, natural flagstone, decorative brick, or crushed stone.

Construct a pathway, walkway, or any other landscaping feature from material that’s the same or similar to what’s used on the exterior of the house, such as a brick or stone, because it will tie the path aesthetically to the home. Or use the material to provide a striking edging along the walkway.

Use Crushed Stone

Use crushed stones in beds because it’s a great xeriscaping technique. Stone is also a nice option in beds because you never have to replace it.

Go Waterless

Xeriscape landscaping using very little to no water, and it’s a great way to completely give in to your natural surroundings. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many native plants require almost zero water once they are established, and they can provide colorful blooms throughout the year.


Space may not be on your side when it comes to your bathroom, but don’t give up on the dream of a walk in shower just yet. From layout and design to tiles and colours, we’ve got plenty of walk in shower ideas for small bathrooms ready and raring to go. See what you think…


The humble corner shower is one of the most popular choices for saving space in a small bathroom. They’re compact, practical, and leave plenty of room for other fittings and pieces of furniture.

If you’re worried about having a small shower, try opting for a neo-angled walk in shower design instead. This will give you more width when showering and get rid of any protruding corners elsewhere in the room.


Need a little more convincing before you ditch the tub? Here goes… Removing the bath will, of course, save you precious space, but that’s not all. You’ll have more room to play with when it comes to creating the ultimate walk in bathroom shower.

Extending the shower area along the entirety of the rear wall will result in a larger than average (and more luxurious) shower experience without taking up lots of space and overwhelming the room.

Tiny bathrooms sometimes need partitions to keep water from splashing into areas it shouldn’t – because nobody enjoys sitting on a wet toilet seat! As an alternative to the glass door, we love the idea of half-wall installations as bathroom shower guards.

This walk in shower idea offers you all the privacy you need, keeps the room open, and, the best bit, provides a great canvas for statement tiles and decorative plants.


Natural light instantly makes a small room feel more spacious. So when it comes to walk in bathroom showers, glass doors offer a see-through barrier that doesn’t impact too much on visual space and lets the light flow where it’s needed most.

Tinted glass shower doors are great too as they create a statement focal point whilst still letting light flow freely around the room.


Shower trays come in all shapes and sizes giving you plenty of flexibility for creating your ideal walk in shower. Steer clear from large squares and go for smaller and longer trays that save on space.

Be sure to choose a shower tray with a shallow pan too. Trays with too much depth compact your shower area instead of keeping things open and spacious.


Small bathrooms often come with awkward layouts and dimensions, but try not to see unwanted alcoves and eaves as a problem. Use them to your advantage instead with clever walk in shower designs.

Build your walk in bathroom shower into the alcove or tuck it into an eave to make use of the walls as natural partitions in the room. Roof windows above the shower will give you extra light too and really open up the space.


Clean and simple interiors help small bathrooms look more visually spacious whilst too much detail can leave things feeling a bit busy. White keeps rooms light and airy with plenty of scope for accessorising with textures and colours. Our favourite small bathroom designs include monochrome and minimalist Scandi influences.

That said, there’s so many small bathroom decorating ideas out there and there’s no reason why you can’t use bold colours. Just keep in mind that when working with small spaces, less is usually more.


Getting nifty with your tile patterns in a walk in shower is a great way to trick the eye and create more visual space. Laying a metro tile in a vertical brick or block pattern along the shower wall will elongate the room and make everything feel bigger.

Small rooms don’t have to have small tiles either. Large format tiles are perfect for minimalist interiors with less grouting for a fuss-free finish.

Believe it or not, statement tiles do work in small bathrooms. When used sparingly, bold patterns and colours work wonders by drawing the eye to key areas of the room.

A statement splashback or shower wall by contrast will make the rest of the room feel larger and let you have a bit of fun when it comes to design. Our Ted Baker GeoTile or Laura Ashley Mr Jones are great choices for a statement tile in a small bathroom.


Small spaces can be easily overwhelmed, especially if your furniture doesn’t fit the scale of the room. To keep your walk in shower design the main attraction, be sure to fit furniture that doesn’t steal the spotlight.

Compact vanity units and built-in storage solutions are perfect for saving space and won’t dwarf the rest of the room.


Furniture and vanity units can sometimes clutter a room unintentionally, so always look for storage alternatives in small bathrooms with walk in showers.

Considering built in shelves or even a tiled bench is a great option for storage that doesn’t take up too much space. Thinking ahead in the planning phase means you can keep the floor clear and stop storage woes later on.

15 Fun Features for Family Rooms

The family room is where you go to relax, watch movies, play games and hang out with friends — which makes it a great place in which to loosen up, decorating-wise. Create a fun, welcoming atmosphere in your family room by incorporating one or more of these 15 playful features, from photo murals to game tables.

1. Projection paint. If your family loves movie night, why not go with a projector instead of a giant TV? A blank wall here is coated with flat white projection paint, and a projector is built into the wall opposite to create a mini screening area. If you don’t want a built-in projector, you can buy a small projector that works with your smartphone or another device.

2. Custom photo mural. These creative homeowners had The Wall Sticker Company turn a photograph of their children into removable fabric wallpaper with an adhesive backing. Create a feature wall in your own family room using your favorite photo to personalize the space — and start conversations!

family room furniture set up ideas Fresh Millennial Pink Decorating Ideas From My Living Room

3. Family travel map mural. A world map painted on the wall becomes an interactive feature when you use it to mark the places you have been. Use a coat of magnetic paint under the mural to create a magnetic surface, or have a large corkboard painted so you can pin flags directly on the map.

4. Fun accent furniture. Since the family room is often tucked away from the other, more formal spaces, it is a good place for getting a little more playful with furniture and decor. Try your hand at making DIY dice tables like the ones shown here (just paint dots on a plain cube), or scoop up a funky vintage piece at the flea market.

5. Games table. If your crew loves to play cards and board games, consider adding a game table to your family room. A slender table with stools can be pushed against the wall when not in use, with the stools tucked underneath.

6. Bright rug. Bring neutral furniture and paint colors to life with a cheerful rug in bright, bold hues. Bonus: Bold patterns tend to hide spills and stains better than most solid-hued rugs. And if you don’t want to worry about spills at all, choose an indoor-outdoor rug that can be wiped clean with ease.

7. Chalkboard wall. Kids love chalkboard walls, it’s true … but they are not the only ones! Use yours to record inspiring quotes, snippets of poems and song lyrics, or draw doodles and write lists. If you’re concerned about dust, use chalk pens; if you’re concerned about the room’s looking too dark, use one of the new chalk paints that can be tinted in any hue.

8. Family photo wall. Create a contemporary family photo wall by lining up all of your frames within the boundaries of an imaginary rectangle drawn on the wall. Position simple, matching white frames close together, for a fresh look that seems hard but is surprisingly easy to achieve. For a gallery wall like this, it can be easier to choose the frames first (lay them on the floor of the store to be sure you’re picking the right sizes and number) and the photos later.

9. Window seat with storage. If your family room is small, don’t let the space beneath a window go to waste — turn it into comfy seating and storage in one with a window seat. A thick cushion and throw pillows make it comfortable, and basket storage below is great for holding books and board games.

10. Revamped heirlooms. Update a family-favorite piece that has seen better days by having it reupholstered in a fresh, colorful fabric you love, and top it with coordinating pillows. The pairing of contemporary fabric with a traditional frame sets a playful mood that’s perfect for a heavily trafficked family room.

11. Slide-out puzzle desk. You could use a slide-out desk like this to hold a laptop, but where’s the fun in that? If you have puzzle fans in your house, they will appreciate this feature — work on a puzzle when you want, and slide it away for later without wrecking it.

12. Barn-door TV cover. Wish you could take the emphasis away from the big black box when you’re not using it? Hop on a new iteration of the barn-door bandwagon and rig up a set to slide over your flat-screen. The doors will look great open or closed.

13. House-rules wall decal. A fun wall decal or print with a message can be a heartfelt reminder of the things your family values most. Search for “house rules” online, and lots of options should pop up, both ready made and custom.

14. Kids’ play area. If you have young children in the house, a train or Lego table and a few low pouf seats can provide wee ones with screen-free entertainment. Keep a set of storage bins on shelves nearby stocked with toys kids can help themselves to.

15. Lively artwork. Adding a single piece of original artwork is always a great way to start (or complete) a room design, and can take a family room from basic to stunning in the time it takes you to hang a picture. To highlight a painting, keep other wall art to a minimum, and paint the walls white or another neutral hue to provide a backdrop for the art.


The laundry room is often an overlooked and overworked room in the home. It needs to be functional of course, but what about beautiful? Whether you have a small laundry closet or tiny laundry room, your laundry area can be both functional and beautiful! Below are a collection of 25 Small Laundry Room Ideas by bloggers. Let’s face it, laundry is not a task that most of us look forward to but having a pretty space to work in certainly lightens the load! (See what I did there? Laundry..load?) 🙂 As I was browsing through the bloggers’ laundry rooms, I came up with the following six takeaway tips.


If you don’t always want to look at your washer and dryer, consider hiding them behind a simple tension rod and curtain. This is also a great way of infusing a bit more texture, color, and personality into the space.

If your laundry machines are tucked away in a closet-sized space, the addition of a sliding door can hide your machines while providing character to the room.


You just cannot go wrong by choosing a black, white, and gray color palette for your laundry room! From classy and sophisticated to fun and bubbly, this palette is able to fit your style.

I love these oversized safety pins! Finding interesting objects to hang in your laundry room is an easy way to enliven a neutral space. For a similar look, click the link here for a cute oversized safety pin rack found on Amazon.

This next small space laundry room has several fun ideas to steal! Create instant storage using wooden craft crates spray painted to the color of your choice. Place pegboard on an empty wall to store small items. Use electrical tape to create an easy-to-remove design and pattern on your appliances.


The laundry room is a great place to experiment with design! Create an accent wall with a stencil, paint the laminate floors, and install a DIY light fixture. Small spaces are great spaces to flex your DIY muscle!

If you’re not ready to experiment with paint, don’t underestimate the power of a few well-placed accessories. A bright floral rug and some decorative baskets in coordinating colors might be all you need to spruce up your space.

If you have access to a vinyl cutting machine, cut some vinyl to dress up your machines in a way that makes you smile! You can also find some cute pre-made vinyl decals for laundry rooms online.

I love how this blogger created floating shelves between her cabinets to instantly boost her storage space and add warmth to her laundry

Stackable machines are a great way to take advantage of vertical space. Also notice her cute circle design on the wall? I believe that design was created using toilet paper rolls dipped in white paint.

If there is an awkward space above your cabinets, take advantage of it with decorative baskets. Besides providing additional storage, they add texture and warmth to an otherwise stark space.

Propping your machines up on a custom-built laundry pedestal is a great way to create basket storage.

If you don’t have a folding station in your laundry room, think outside the box! A thrift store table can be cut in half, painted, and attached to the wall to create a long work station.

For added storage, create a customized cubby above your laundry machines to store your necessary supplies or stash clothes.

Consider hanging an old ladder from the ceiling to create a drying rack, or to hang clothing once ironed.

If you have a large family, housing several clothing baskets on casters within the laundry room is a great way to keep laundered clothing organized.

Closets in laundry rooms can be converted into creative folding stations. Add a countertop and shelving to create your custom laundry room storage solution.


There is scientific evidence to prove that the majority of people report feeling calm and serene when surrounded by the color blue. While laundry rooms are welcome to be any color of your choosing, a blue laundry room is most likely to leave you feeling at peace. Considering how stressful I find doing our family’s laundry, I think I can use all of the help I can get! Here are some beautiful blogger laundry rooms in various shades of blue.

If you liked this post, you might also like the related posts below. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to subscribe to my blog on my sidebar under “subscribe”. You will receive post alerts directly to your email box and exclusive printables and decorating tips.

15 Genius Design & Storage Ideas for Your Small Bathroom

A bathroom doesn’t have to be big to have great style and function. To us, a small space means a fun challenge when it comes to storage and design, which is why we’ve rounded up some of our favorite small bathrooms from our most recent house tours to give you inspiration to beautify your bathroom.

1. Fit It All In

This Cape Town bathroom is a study in getting creative in a small footprint. A freestanding tub may be tight up against the vanity, but it seems to work. Also of note is the art, interesting lighting fixture and color palette (keeping the dark paint color to only part of the wall doesn’t overwhelm) that make the compact space feel design-forward.

2. Towel Rod Behind the Toilet

Hand towels are great here, given their small size, but if you’ve got the vertical space, don’t be afraid to hang bath towels above the toilet. Don’t be grossed out by the proximity…in a small bathroom everything is close to the toilet.

3. Ladder Shelving

Shelving that is deeper at the bottom and shallower at the top is an efficient use of space that feels less bulky than a standard shelving unit.

4. Change Out the Hardware

In this petite bathroom, the black-and-brass found in the shower curtain are echoed throughout the space with matching knobs, hooks, and even outlet plates, tying everything together.

5. Plants!

A small bathroom can sometimes feel claustrophobic, and what better way to breath life into a space than with plant life!? Greenery that requires low light and humidity tend to thrive here.

6. Utilize Wall Space

Open wall space in a bathroom is prime real estate. Here, a series of small open shelves provide storage, while a long mirror provides functionality.

7. Plant Clippings

If your bathroom doesn’t get enough sunlight, but you love the look of plants, display clippings from your healthier house plants that survive long periods of time in water—like these monstera leaves.

8. Don’t Neglect Art

Many of us tend to consider the bathroom a 100% functional space, forgetting that we have to spend a lot of time in it. Give your peepers a pretty painting or print to look at while you…brush your teeth.

9. Decant Functional Items

Cotton balls and Q-Tips tend to work best here, as they make for a pretty display that clears up cabinet and drawer space for your more discrete cotton products (although we’re all for displaying those, too).

10. Create Counter Space

If your counter space is limited, try adding a teak bathtub caddy to store your display-worthy toiletries.

11. Go High

Go as high as you want with a wall shelf. Utilize all available space when necessary, like this cleverly positioned shelf which doubles as a towel rod. Bonus: the toilet can be used as a step ladder for easy access.

12. Wall-to-Wall Vanity

Many bathroom vanities are not custom built for the space they’re in, resulting in unused space on either side. If you happen to be redoing your vanity area, consider a wall-to-wall unit. This beauty houses aesthetically pleasing bathroom accessories and requires no doors.

13. Utilize Unexpected Places

Take note of every empty space in your bathroom. Chances are, there’s a piece of empty wall space waiting for you to customize shelving storage that fits perfectly within it.

14. Color Blocking

Color blocking doesn’t have to mean bold and bright. This little loo got a face lift with some trés Parisian color blocking in a pastel and black that makes for a calm and classic bathroom experience.

15. Go Dark

Some spaces are so small, there’s no hiding it. Instead of using airy, bright colors to reflect light and make a space feel open, embrace your teensy toilet room with a moody color palette.

6 Awesome Fireplace Mantel Ideas

Having a fireplace without the right mantel decor is like having a kitchen with mismatched cabinets. The fireplace mantel has so much significance that it keeps everything in the room feeling balanced and secure. Not to mention it’s one of the most popular aspects of interior design!

While you have the power to display what you love, in a certain way the mantel itself dictates its decoration. For example, an English mantel, or a wood one, would be taller than a French mantel and would look better with artwork rather than a mirror.

Whether you’re working with ornate wood or sleek stone, it’s time to turn the heat up on your decor and create a memorable mantel.

Add Tech

Flat-screen TVs have been inching their way up mantels for awhile now, and for good reasoning. The TV-hearth partnership is ideal for small spaces and allows you to focus on furniture arrangement.

Depending on how your mantel is designed, there are many ways to mount a television here. Mounting the TV aesthetically gives a clean look, while mounting it flush with the wall looks less bulky.

There are also full-range motion mounts that’ll generate a pleasing view from anywhere in the room. For a more decorative option, try framing your TV. Concealing it behind cabinet doors is an option, but you’ll still want to add items to the mantel itself.

Adding small items such as single flowers or figurines to match the decor of the room will not clutter the space or block the screen.

Mix-In Greenery

Fireplaces are generally made of heavy materials such as brick, stone and steel. This amount of masculinity can be complemented with fresh touches of greenery. Tall grasses are a delicate plant with eye-catching height.

A delicious spread of eucalyptus branches across your fireplace mantel is also a gorgeous way to add a burst of greenery. While the rest of the room is neutral, this distinct and clean plant will not only stand out but add a lasting fragrance to the room.

No matter what the season, wreaths are a wonderful decoration for mantels. They’re easily interchangeable with flowers and greenery to match decor and seasons.

Get Personal

Throughout history, the fireplace has been known as a social gathering place for a source of warmth and comfort. For this reason, across many cultures, it’s common to decorate the fireplace mantel with personal family memorabilia.

From prized family heirlooms, trophies and awards to photographs of family members throughout history, there are tons of ways to get creative. Black-and-white photos keep a space neutral, plus you can add a pop of color with vases or candles.

Adding some personal trinkets or souvenirs can also make a fireplace mantel even more inviting. These items can be anything that means something to you, whether it’s a trinket passed down from your grandmother, a shell you found on the beach or an angel that watches over your family.

Personal effects make your home comfortable, cozy and give it more character, as long as it’s not overloaded.

Display Art

Art, in the form of a picture or painting, is the number one decorating style for a fireplace mantel in most homes. The art you choose to display truly depends on your style, the decor of the room and the way the mantel is designed. The picture or painting can be anything that intrigues you and captures the interest of guests.

There are three distinct ways to display art from the mantel: hang it from above, sit it on the shelf or prop it in the fireplace where the logs originally sit.

If you’re hanging art from above, think about how the room itself is constructed. A taller piece of artwork will draw the eye up so that you can appreciate the scale of the room. However, a smaller picture would not balance the room and hold it together.

Reflect with Mirrors

Mirrors have a variety of uses in the home, such as checking your reflection, opening a room and enhancing decor. Large mirrors of different sizes and shapes are great decorative pieces for mantels, but they are not designed for looking at yourself.

Large mirrors with interesting frames attract the most attention and can be hung over the mantel or rested on top of the mantel shelf.

If the surrounding area is spacious, you can use small items to decorate with. A tall vase or tall candlesticks on both sides of the mirror will help create a balanced effect.

Be Seasonal

The fireplace mantel is one of the easiest places to embrace all seasons and holidays. Fresh flowers and tall grasses in the spring and bright fruit or coastal decor in the summer. Pumpkins and vases of cranberries as fall approaches and creamy whites with icy blues as winter sweeps in.

The mantel can get festive for any special occasion. On Valentine’s Day, hearts and other romantic elements can be displayed. Halloween calls for gourds, ghosts and cobwebs while Easter can be garnished with pastels and Easter eggs.

However, Christmas is the holiday that everyone is drawn to the fireplace mantel. From large vases filled with thick candles to pre-lit garland draped elegantly over the front of the mantel, a Christmas atmosphere makes every room welcoming and cozy.

More Christmas elements to use on a fireplace mantle are frosted pine cones, hanging stockings, faux snow and scattered glass ornaments.

Design Tips for Fireplace Mantels

When decorating any fireplace mantel, you always want to include three layers. Layer one is known as the anchor, which is the focal point of the mantel. This item can be the TV, artwork, or mirror. The large piece will serve as the anchor for the rest of the design. This item should also fill a large portion of the wall above the mantel.

Layer two is called the weight, these pieces are items that will go on the left and right of layer one and will add width and visual weight to the overall design.

The third layer is known as the filler which are the objects of varying heights added to the center of the mantel underneath layer one. If you want a clean, minimal design, skipping layer three is an option.

One important element of mantel decorating is bringing balance to the space. Like the rest of our home, the way we decorate our mantel is often a direct reflection of our style and personality. No matter what components you choose to display, the symmetry needs to be in order.

For homes with a more classic and conservative aesthetic, a simple streamlined approach works well. If your home is more modern, varying the height of the accessories on the mantel is maybe the best look for your personality and home.

Fireplace Mantels Bring the Room Together

Fireplaces rank among one of the top amenities for home buyers, even though they’re rarely used in many cases. The mantel and ability to decorate the area is one reason fireplaces have become so popular.

Home buyers want the opportunity to highlight their style and personal trophies. Fireplace mantels are the perfect chance to display this, while making an engaging focal point for any room.

When revamping your fireplace mantel you find that your fireplace itself is in poor condition, let Early Times inspect the area and suggest improvements. Get a free quote now to begin your fireplace service with us.

15 Incredibly Helpful Design & Storage Ideas for Your Small Bedroom

Finding design-savvy ways to magically create extra storage space in a tiny bedroom isn’t always easy. While unsightly over-the-door organizers and bulky dressers are always an option (if you squeeze them in), it pays to use your imagination and get creative when coming up with stylish storage ideas.

To help make your life a little easier (and a whole lot more organized), we rounded up 30 of our favorite small bedroom storage and design solutions. From wall-mounted shelves to swing arm sconces, these clever ideas are all designed to maximize a storage-deprived space — no matter how little square footage you’re working with.

1. Go with a Ghost Chair

The greatest thing about Ghost chairs—a.k.a. clear acrylic ones—is that visually, they are so light, you barely see them (i.e. less visual clutter). Not only are they super stylish—they won’t further cramp up your tiny bedroom.

2. Floating Shelves
Turn even the tightest bedroom corner into a streamlined storage display with nothing more than a few wall-mounted floating shelves.

3. Work a Room Divider

Don’t technically have a separate bedroom? A bookcase that doubles as a room divider can work wonders for a cramped studio. It’ll designate your sleeping space, but also the space between your books and decor is enough to let light stream in.

4. Consider Hanging Racks

Hanging garment racks are a clever way to score more closet storage (or create a closet out of nowhere) without taking up an inch of floor space. A dresser underneath creates the perfect dressing area.
5. Consider a Swing Arm Sconce

If you’ve been searching for a stylish way to bring more lighting into your cramped bedroom (without taking up too much space), consider swing-arm wall sconces. Not only are they much less bulky than most table lamps and pendants, these wall-mounted wonders are designed with adjustable arms for a more space-savvy lighting solution.

6. Leaning Layered Art Looks Good

If you’re an art lover but lacking the space to show off your treasured works in your bedroom, a shelf or nightstand layered with framed art can make a big impact without wasting any space.

7. Get Creative With Shelving

When every bit of wall space counts, why not try shelving that doubles as art? A cool hanging shelf allows you to store (and show off) your favorite trinkets and display your beloved baubles, and won’t take up an inch of floor space.

8. Accessorize Away
When you don’t have the room for large-scale bedroom furnishings, consider going big with your decor—think: bold throw pillows, colorful art, and layered textiles.

9. Floating Desk

Who says you need a big bedroom to create your own workspace? A wall-mounted shelf beautifully doubles as a personal desk and mounts directly to your wall for added efficiency.

10. Consider a Modern Murphy Bed

Forget your grandmother’s Murphy bed. A foldout bedframe—like this one in Daniel’s NYC studio—is a clever way to conceal bulky furniture in your tiny apartment space.

11. Houseplants Work Wonders

You don’t always need two nightstands, especially if you’re sleeping alone. Just add plants. It’ll bring fast style to your bedroom without the need for a bulky piece of furniture and will help clean your air, too. Win, win!

12. Try Nesting Tables Instead of Nightstands

Place a pair of nesting tables next to your bed instead of a traditional nightstand and you can instantly create more storage room for when you might need it without bringing in more furniture to do the job (plus, bonus points, you can use the empty space underneath the tables for even more storage in baskets or crates).

13. Daybeds Aren’t Just for Kids

If you thought daybeds were just for kids then think again. Along with offering a more compact bed frame, some versions come with built-in drawers for more storage. They’re also great for doubling as a sofa.

14. Don’t Overlook the Foot of Your Bed

House Tour: Block Shop Co-Founder’s LA Cottage Has Gorgeous Textiles (Image credit: Emily Billings)
Putting a storage bench, baskets or even crates at the foot of your bed is a smart way to squeeze in more of whatever you need. This typically only takes up about a foot of space but the payoff is invaluable.

15. Hanging Lights

Tour: A Happy Modern Renovated Melbourne Home (Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)
Looking for a stylish way to bring more lighting into your bedroom without further cramping the space? A pendant light, or any hanging light for that matter, instantly brightens up a room and doesn’t require an inch of table or floor space.

The 7 Decorating Mistakes Everyone Makes in Their Living Room

When entering a meticulously designed living room, we feel it right away: the perfect proportions giving the space a certain grandeur, the plush seating drawing us in, each well-appointed seat suggesting long lazy afternoons spent without having to leave the living room… Just like a beautifully directed movie, a well-decorated living room is at once engaging and impressive, but it’s also familiar and safe. Trying to replicate this attention to detail in our own homes, though, is another challenge.

As much as we try to replicate the feelings we’ve experienced in certain rooms (that we’ve visited and loved), there’s usually something that’s just off.

Interior designers spend their lives studying the little details that make a room perfect. And sometimes, what is wrong in our own living rooms can be as simple as a painting hung too high or a lack of eye-level lamps. To shed some light on the most common living room decorating mistakes that may be plaguing our spaces, we asked a stylist, an interior designer, and a residential architect to share the decorating mistakes they frequently notice in living rooms everywhere. The space of your dreams may not be so out of reach—simply fix these mistakes, adopt these living room ideas, and then enjoy your new and improved space.

Mistake #1: Selecting the Wrong Sofa

Designers agree: A great living room starts with a great sofa. “So often I come into a house and the owners have good taste, but they already have a sofa that they want to work with,” explains stylist and TV host Emily Henderson. “They don’t want to replace it because it’s not that old and they don’t mind it. I’ve had to break the news over and over that with a sofa like that, they would never get the room they want,” says Henderson.

David John Dick of DISC Interiors agrees, “We hear time and time again from our clients how the sofa they purchased in the past was not comfortable or was too big (or too small) for the room. In living rooms, a good sofa is key to comfort, but it’s also central to how a room feels and looks. Our tip for getting it right is to pay attention to sofa seat height (a low seat is hard to get in and out of) and to draw a furniture floor plan before purchasing. Buying on impulse is great for accessories and side tables, but never for a sofa, as it can be a very costly mistake.”

“To avoid choosing the wrong sofa, stick to something simple,” adds Henderson. “No one loves a simple sofa more than me because they are so easy to style.” She recommends paying particular attention to the quality of the fabric and the timelessness of the shape. Henderson recommends staying away from overly ornate details like curved legs, winged arms, tufts, and nailheads.

Mistake #2: Falling Into the Showroom Look

Another mistake that plagues living rooms everywhere, according to New York–based architect Elizabeth Roberts, is the “showroom feel.” (In other words, a room that looks like it’s all been purchased from the same store.) “It’s important to us to mix new and vintage elements in order to create an interesting, eclectic, and individualized room,” she says. DISC Interiors agrees: “We love the patina of vintage furniture, especially paired with modern upholstery.”

To avoid feeling like you’re in a store, Roberts also recommends leaving adequate room in the budget for lighting, textiles, and accessories after large items are selected. “The small pieces are what add personality,” says Roberts. “We also prefer to light the living room with low lighting instead of overhead light. Floor lamps and table lamps are best for living rooms,” she says.

Mistake #3: Buying a Rug That’s Too Small

For Henderson, one of the main offenders in living room decorating is the poorly sized rug. “America has been suffering for too long from ‘small rug’ syndrome,” she says. “I see it virtually every day, and it pains me—especially when it can be so easily avoided.” Huge rugs can be expensive and can feel like such a scary commitment, but according to the stylist, it’s one of the most important aspects of a room.

“Living rooms almost always need at least an 8-by-10-foot (if not a 9-by-12-foot) rug. Unless you have a tiny living room, stay away from anything under 6-by-9-feet. A 4-by-6-foot rug might be fine next to a bed, in a kitchen, or in an entrance, but it will assuredly not work in your living room,” advises Henderson.

Mistake #4: Poorly Planning Your Layout

While it may be tempting to push a sofa against a wall facing the TV stand and call it a day, Roberts reminds us that there is more involved in planning a great living room layout. “It’s important to consider and create conversation groupings, especially if the room is long and narrow like many townhouses and lofts,” she says.

“It’s also very important to consider views from major seating elements. In a large open room, it’s nice to be able to sit on a favorite piece while addressing the rest of the room. In a small room, it’s important to consider necessary window views. In a room with a fireplace, it’s often difficult to know where to put the TV—large TV cabinets are cumbersome and don’t fool many. My favorite solution is a projector that projects onto the white wall above the mantel,” says Roberts.

Mistake #5: Hanging Art Incorrectly

“Art hung the wrong way on a wall is like a character in a movie wearing a really bad wig,” Henderson says, “it’s just kinda hard not to see it, and you wish so bad you could just rip it off, knowing that everything would be so much better without it. It doesn’t ruin your experience, but it’s just terribly distracting.”

While some agree that art should be hung at eye level, the stylist stresses that this doesn’t apply in every case. “Yes, the art should be at eye level, but not if your ceilings are really low and not if you are really tall,” she says. “If the wall were cut up vertically into four sections (going from bottom to top), think of the art being in the third quadrant (counting from the floor),” says Henderson.

Mistake #6: Making It Too Precious to Live In

While the days of unused “sitting rooms” and plastic-wrapped furniture are long gone, Roberts still insists on paying special attention to making your living room fits the conveniences of everyday living. “Select textiles and rugs that can take the wear and tear of everyday living,” she recommends.

Roberts says, “There are some great outdoor fabrics that we’re using indoors that dogs and kids cannot destroy. It’s important to select rugs that will wear well. Beware of the seductive silk rug. Wool is a much better rug for a family. Make sure that there’s adequate storage in the living room to contain all of the items that we like to have around: toys (if you have children), books, remotes, and a junk drawer. It’s always helpful!”

Mistake #7: Not Mixing Periods and Styles

Dick says, “Often times people feel boxed in and limited by the architecture of their home and select furniture based on the home’s architecture and time period. Our solution is to mix furniture styles with the style of architecture.” In one Georgia home, the design firm merged contemporary furniture with traditional crown molding, Moroccan antique rugs, African beaded benches, and contemporary art. “We love to recover and rework vintage pieces and mix them with custom sofas so the living room feels timeless and approachable,” he adds.

Roberts has one indispensable trick for combining periods and styles: “When mixing new and vintage elements, pay attention to furniture heights, as traditional furniture is typically higher than modern pieces.”

Top 5 White Kitchen Ideas That Work

A kitchen remodel is one of the most common renovation projects in homes today, and also one that can have a significant effect on resale value.

And since the average homeowner will spend tens of thousands of dollars when doing a major kitchen remodel, it’s crucial to do it right. So how do you accomplish that? We’ve assembled a number of white kitchen ideas to simplify the design process.

When spending a lot of money on a remodel you’ll want to create a space you love, but if you’re planning on selling at some point you’ll also want to secure a return on your investment (you’ll also want to like the room yourself 20 years from now as your tastes change).

Today’s home buyers are turned off by dated kitchens, and are looking for modern additions like granite counters and updated appliances. Those things can both be done in white, and according to the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association, white and off-white are the most popular color schemes for those spaces. Make your design decisions easier by creating an all-white room that’s fresh, bright and aesthetically pleasing.

In addition to a timeless look, white can make a small kitchen feel bigger and brighten a room that lacks adequate natural light. And while you don’t want to offend anyone’s taste with your kitchen design, you also don’t want a white kitchen to feel bland. Add depth by using accent colors and insert personal style in changeable features like light fixtures, furniture and cabinet pulls.

From the appliances to the cabinets, we’ve broken down 50 different white kitchen ideas.

White Kitchen Countertops

There are a number of ways to approach white countertops. White marble is warm, classic and its natural veiny appearance adds texture. It is more expensive than other options as well as higher maintenance. You’ll need to wipe up spills right away, avoid putting hot pans or abrasive items on the surface and seal it on a regular basis. White granite is lower maintenance than marble (seal it once a year and wipe up spills ASAP) but also offers a classic look. Engineered white quartz is durable and non-porous so it’s more sanitary and resists stains, scratches and corrosion. White concrete can achieve that pure white look and it’s also incredibly durable. White glass can be pricey, but in addition to being sleek and bright it’s also non-porous and perhaps the most hygienic option. If you’re on a budget, today’s laminates mimic more expensive granite and marble and also resist scratching and chipping.

White Kitchen Sink

White sinks have long been bathroom mainstays and the same timeless look translates well into the kitchen, whether you choose a classic white sink or more of a trend piece like a farmhouse sink. If you’re typically hard on your sink (throwing around pots and dishes) then stainless steel may be a better choice. For white sinks, fireclay might be the best option. The material is resistant to scratches, staining, chipping and clean-up is simple (just use soap and water). Enamel-coated-cast iron is another good option for durable white sinks, but tends to be heavier so make sure your cabinets can handle the weight.

White Kitchen Islands

The kitchen island often features a sizable slab of countertop so this can be used strategically to brighten up the space, or add detail that complements pure white features elsewhere in the room. Add contrast by choosing a different material than you used for the countertops. It’s pretty likely that the island will be where a lot of food prep and entertaining takes place, so depending on how you plan to use the kitchen island itself think about the material and how high maintenance it is.

White Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are a high impact design element because they’re outward facing (unlike flat countertops) and take up a lot of real estate in the room. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association cabinets make up one-third to one-half of kitchen remodel budgets. NKBA also reported that among painted cabinets, white is the most popular option. Add a personal touch by choosing cabinet pulls and other hardware that you like. They are easily replaceable and will pop against crisp white cabinetry.

White Kitchen Appliances (Maybe)

Stainless steel has been the presiding choice for new kitchens, often replacing old white appliances that looked dated. Though it’s hard to imagine such sharp stainless steel appliances falling out of fashion, they could very well go out of style in the future. In a 2010 study by Consumer Reports some kitchen experts said that the stainless steel reign was coming to an end. And what will replace it? Likely reimagined, updated white appliances. For example, a glass-like polished enamel that is modern and reflects light.