6 Smart Ways to Work Your Square Footage

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 3.50.30 PMThe Hardworking Home: From Juliet balconies to movable walls, here’s how to make a home of any size feel more open, flexible and fun

New homes are getting bigger. The size of the average American home built in 2013 was 2,600 square feet, which is bigger than ever, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While it can be nice to have such a spacious dwelling, many of us live in much older homes, built early in the previous century, with smaller floor plans that reflect the routines of a different era. Many people are continuing to flock to urban environments, too, where living spaces are generally smaller. So how do you make a smaller home feel bigger? If you have limited space, consider these design solutions to improve the livability of your home.

How to Use Full-Scale Decor to Make a Small Space Feel Bigger

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 8.04.22 AMWith a less-is-more approach, even oversize furnishings can help a compact area seem roomier

In today’s furniture market, “condo size” (compact) furniture is a common solution for modern small-space living. But I believe you can often achieve the biggest impact, and the most satisfying results, with a less-is-more approach. Rather than choosing smaller furnishings, indulging in a few full-scale (or even oversize) pieces can create the look of a full-size space without compromising.

How to Add Just the Right Amount of Dramatic Black

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 8.29.03 AMDone right, black can add punch and personality to just about any room. Here’s how to go over to the dark side in style

Black is a somewhat divisive color when it comes to interiors: some adore it; some abhor it. Personally, I love black — it instantly adds atmosphere — but it can be overwhelming if not handled carefully. From mixing in jewel brights to restricting it to paintwork or a feature wall, here are 10 ways to use inky shades in uplifting ways.

Eclectic Matchups: 10 Round Dining Tables With Chairs

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.52.51 PMCheck out these ideas for pairings of round tables with complementary chairs of different styles

Round and oval dining tables make conversing with dinner guests easier and prevent the dreaded corner bump as you walk past. And with a pedestal table, you also get the benefit of being able to squeeze in a few extra seats in a pinch — perfect for holiday entertaining, when everyone seems to bring a friend. Whether you already have a table you love and are looking for fresh ideas for chairs, or you’re starting from scratch, see which of these 10 table and chair matchups appeals to you.

10 Steps to Pulling Together Your Living Room Before the Holidays

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 8.16.39 AMBoost comfort, flow and visual appeal in your main entertaining room to make guests feel more welcome

Planning to entertain over the holidays this year? While some things (like putting up holiday decor) can wait until much later in the season, if your main entertaining space isn’t feeling the way you’d like it to, now is the time to get started. From cocktail party mingling to Christmas morning around the tree, the living room is where your guests will likely be spending the most time — work your way through these 10 steps and enjoy a more welcoming, put-together space by party time.

10 Reasons to Love Big, Comfy Sectionals

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 3.01.08 PMWith their soft lines, visual heft and casual versatility, modular sofas are a great choice for many rooms

They’re big, comfy and totally napworthy. If something’s been holding you back from indulging in the pure comfort of a sectional, here are 10 reasons to just go for it. Whether your space is large or small, family friendly or slick and modern, see if there is a sectional that will work with your style and space.

Welcome the Winter With Mood-Enhancing Lights

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 7.33.55 AMRelish the prospect of darker evenings with statement lighting to illuminate and inspire

It’s true the nights are getting darker earlier, but before you book your ticket to somewhere sunnier, explore other ways to brighten up your days. The right illumination can transform a room and also act as a stylish focal point. So invest in an attention-grabbing light or two and start looking forward to sundown.

13 Great Ways to Say Yes to Plaid

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 7.33.00 AMGive your room a dose of the unexpected with plaid’s classic lines in nearly infinite colors and materials

When I hear “plaid,” my mind immediately conjures up L.L. Bean flannel shirts, Scottish tartan kilts and very traditional rooms. Plaid patterns adorn dark libraries full of leather-bound books, offices that smell of rich mahogany, hunting cabins, overstuffed sofas in country estates where cocktail hour occurs promptly at 6:00 every evening … you get the idea. What’s caught my eye lately is the way designers are giving my preconceived plaid notions a twist, mixing the pattern into modern, contemporary, transitional and eclectic rooms. Here are 13 ways to freshen up this classic pattern.

Working at Home Together (and Apart)

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.44.45 PMOne is easy. Two, not so much. Here are ways to make room for two to work at home

If you and your partner both work at home, you are part of an ever-expanding number. Personally, I can think of four families who have recently, and rather abruptly, had a spouse join the other in coming home to work.

One of the couples lives in a beautiful four-bedroom lakefront home in which there are separate offices for the wife and husband. She is a real estate agent. Her office is on the main floor in a sunny room in the front of the house, where she has a large desk, bookshelves, filing cabinets and all the tools and accessories you might need or want in an office. The husband was, until a few months, ago primarily on the road. He worked at home only a few hours a month and instead of working in his small and dark office on the lower level, he tended to spread out on the dining room table or the kitchen island.

They were both delighted when he began working at home, and yet it was a big adjustment. Making another workspace for him became a priority when she realized it was stressful having him commandeer the kitchen every single day. While it wasn’t ideal for him, it was preferable to being holed up in “the dungeon,” as he called it. Their solution was as simple as swapping his office in the small, dark bedroom for one in the larger and sunnier guest bedroom overlooking the lake. Now both have spacious, functional and pleasing workspaces that are, most important, separate.