21 Reasons to Decorate With Purple

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 11.24.25 AMWhatever shade you choose — lilac, plum, mauve or aubergine — purple makes a statement

Helen Mirren caused a stir in the media recently when she had the chutzpah to ride the New York subway, sitting next to — shock, horror — a real person. But what also got people going was that she was wearing — wait for it — purple gloves. If she had been wearing black, green or even orange gloves, her handwear would hardly have warranted a mention, but purple, and it’s a headline.

You see, purple can be a quirky color. It’s not always easy to get right (Mirren did), and it’s a color that people tend to either love or find repellent. I’m definitely in the former camp, but I’ve been a bit scared to use it ever since painting my bedroom a pretty shade of lavender, only for a friend to remark some time later, “Yuck, who would ever choose that color paint?” But as these photos show (not one a child’s bedroom), purple in all its hues — whether a little bit or a lot is used — can be lovely and even sophisticated.

9 Tips for Making Your Shelf Display Look Great

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 7.49.47 AMLearn the tricks stylists use when arranging objects on a shelf

So you have things in your home that you love and want to show off, but you aren’t quite sure how to display them, or how to get that professional touch stylists and designers seem to get. Well, I’m going to show you how — to get that polished look when styling your shelves and bookcases, and get the perfect vignette. What’s a vignette, you ask? It’s a fancy word for an arrangement or grouping of objects. Just a warning though, it can become addictive. I like to change things up and style my shelves every other weekend.

Kids’ Rooms: 10 Gender-Neutral Nursery Ideas

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 7.47.04 AMCreate a sweet space to suit you and your new baby — whether a boy or a girl

If you’re preparing the nest for a new arrival and have resist finding out the sex of baby, you may be in need of some nursery decorating inspiration. Or perhaps you simply aren’t excited by traditional colors? Either way, forget outmoded ideas of blue for boys and pink for girls and make life easier by choosing a color scheme that will suit either gender. With a clever use of paint, prints and accessories, you can create a room you’ll feel proud to bring your baby home to and that will work for your family for years to come.

10 Secrets of Successful Secondhand Furniture Shopping

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 7.38.02 AMDesign professionals offer tips on how, where and what to buy

Buying furniture secondhand is the recycling of the design world. Secondhand pieces don’t use any more raw materials, don’t require any more energy to be produced, reduce waste and pollution, and don’t require any additional packaging. On top of these pluses, antiques and previously used pieces have that great sense of story and character.

While seasoned secondhand shoppers would probably be able to dish out this advice in their sleep, it can often be difficult to know where to start looking if you’re not in the habit of hunting. Four professionals very much in the know offer 10 great tips to ease you on your way.

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.