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.

12 Stylish Kitchen Counters That Seem to Float in Space

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 11.38.39 AMTake your culinary zone to new heights with a cantilevered countertop that’s visually appealing and practical

Want your kitchen countertop to be the hero of your new cooking zone rather than relegated to the background? One way to do that is to look beyond the basic block-like counter and incorporate acantilevered, or floating, countertop into your kitchen design instead. Here are 12 cantilevered counters that not only offer showstopping style but also enhance functionality and create the illusion of more space.

How Merlot Can You Go? 8 Enticing Ways With Wine-Inspired Hues

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.57.57 PMAdd warmth and drama to your home with these deepest shades of red

Count me as a big fan of burgundy, whether I’m enjoying a glass of it with dinner or using it as an accent wall color. Decorating with shades of red wine can add drama, depth and a delicious cozy feeling to any room. But the hue can make a space appear somber, busy or even claustrophobic when overused or combined with too much visual clutter. So here are eight elegant examples of red-wine hues done right, along with suggestions for similar colors to try out in and on your own home.

Decorating Trends: Survey Shows What Homeowners Want

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 3.47.05 PMIs the TV gaining or losing ground? Are women or men trendier? Find out and learn more about people’s decorating plans right here

If you ever get frustrated that your home doesn’t quite look how you’ve always dreamed it should look, then consider this: The next time you’re standing in a room of 100 people, know that 98 of them share your frustration. That’s according to a recent Houzz decorating survey, for which more than 1,700 people shared their decorating intentions — and, yes, frustrations. Of those surveyed only 2 percent felt they had achieved their ultimate vision for their home. And on average most of us feel we are only about halfway to fulfilling our vision of home.

10 Recipes for Shabby Chic Style

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 12.56.31 PMRustic furniture, floral fabrics, sparkling chandeliers. Here are 10 easy ways to bring the romantic cottage look into your home

Vintage and antique finds; distressed, cracked and imperfect finishes; antique linens; sparkling chandeliers; and lots of white. Though certainly not for everyone, for those who love the style, Shabby Chic is utter comfort and luxury. The spirit of the style is to work with what you have, enjoy the hunt for unique antique and vintage pieces, and celebrate imperfection. It’s not for everyone, but more than two decades after its rise, Shabby Chic appears among the top decorating search terms on Houzz. If you’re among those who would love to bring the look home, check out these 10 decorating combinations.

Rethinking the Master Bedroom

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 12.26.39 PMBigger isn’t always better. Use these ideas to discover what you really want and need from your bedroom

For some time now, it’s been the norm in new construction to include an enormous master suite in the plans. Is it a blessing, or is it just overboard? The answer is, there is no cookie cutter answer — it depends on you.

Zeroing in on what you personally want and need from your master bedroom can help you build the just-right space (or tweak the one you have). These tips can help.

8 Beautiful Ideas for Floating Shelves

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 12.56.08 PMGet clean-lined storage and display on walls, over windows and in nooks using versatile floating shelving

Floating shelves — those that attach to the wall without visible brackets — are sleek, chic and so versatile. From filling a tricky nook to customizing a workspace, floating shelves are an underrated workhorse all around the house. Here are eight ways to use floating shelves, plus key tips for when it comes time to hang them.