Medicine Cabinets: Should You Get a Recessed or Wall-Mounted Style?

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 8.17.45 AMHere’s what you need to know to pick the right medicine cabinet and get it installed

More than a storage place for aspirin and toothpaste, a medicine cabinet greets our reflection in the morning and ushers us to bed at nighttime. It’s the go-to for most of our everyday needs and a must in the bathroom.

Despite medicine cabinets’ utilitarian function, selecting one may not be as straightforward as you might think. Recessed cabinets look great but might require more work than you bargained for. Wall-mounted options are easier to install but can take up much-valued space. Here’s help for figuring out which approach and style are right for your bathroom.

How to Give Neutral Paint Colors a Subtle Jolt

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 7.48.09 AMDon’t compete with your neutral hues — complement them!

I have to admit: As much as I love big, bold color, I like it best when it is used with restraint — and used strategically. After all, a little bold color goes a long way, and it’s all too easy to go from “wow!” to “ouch.” For the color-shy out there who are looking to spice up their neutral interiors but want to steer clear of anything too intense, here’s how to add small to moderate splashes of vivacious hues to a mostly neutral interior palette.

How to Ditch the Drapes and Let Your Windows Shine

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 8.25.00 AMIf your home has beautiful windows and you don’t need to hide a view, consider dressing them in these elegant, creative ways

Drapes are a beautiful — and functional — home privacy solution, great for covering up an unwanted view inside or out. But when your home has beautiful windows and privacy isn’t an issue, why hide them? Consider some of these classic and creative ways to dress your windows, whether you live in a secluded country house or a high-rise city apartment.

Simple Pleasures: Savoring the Season of Fire and Light

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 8.14.39 AMWarm up your home and lift your spirits on cold winter days with these decorative touches

I am the first to admit I’m not a winter person. But where I live, in New England, snowy winters are a fact of life. And if living with winter has taught me anything, it’s to savor the warm and cozy aspects of this season. Candles, fairy lights and a roaring fire can do wonders to boost light on short, dark days and (even more important) bolster the spirits. So pour yourself a mug of hot cocoa and get cozy around the fire. Here are 10 ideas for boosting light and creating a magical ambience around the house.

Dream Spaces: Spa-Worthy Showers to Refresh the Senses

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 8.12.10 AMIn these fantasy baths, open designs let in natural light and views, and intriguing materials create drama

The term “shower stall” often conjures a utilitarian, single-person spot meant for one thing: getting clean. These fantastic showers are a different animal — in many of them, solid walls and opaque barriers have been largely banished to let in light and views, making an everyday wash an exhilarating experience. Take a look at 14 examples that challenge the bathtub’s title as the ultimate place for a relaxing soak.

11 Pretty Sweet Decorating Ideas Using Pastels

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.54.47 AMGo ahead, be a softie. When you use powdery shades right, they go beyond child’s play into the realm of chic

Pastels often get a bad rap for being too sugary sweet, frivolous or girly. But don’t be too quick to fall into this mind-set and immediately pass over pastel shades when choosing which hues to incorporate into your home. The secret to making soft, chalky colors work is to balance them with cool whites, moody black, gray and other neutral tones. Introducing clean, contemporary lines and modern design elements as well as raw, sleek or edgy materials will also cut through the cuteness and ensure that your design looks fresh, grown-up and chic, rather than childish or overly feminine.

Whether you’re a longtime lover of pastels or a newfound fan of the versatile pale palette, the spaces below will provide plenty of design inspiration and show how soft, muted shades can be woven into your home’s decorating scheme with great success.

8 Great Kitchen Cabinet Color Palettes

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 7.46.31 AMMake your kitchen uniquely yours with painted cabinetry. Here’s how (and what) to paint them

If you like the layout of your existing kitchen and your cabinets are in good shape, painting them can be a smart way to go. Another budget-friendly route is to purchase and install new cabinet boxes (or “carcasses,” as I’ve heard them called fondly) from a retailer such as Ikea, and then hire a finish carpenter to make door and drawer fronts you can paint yourself or have painted professionally. With custom-painted fronts, nobody will know your cabinets came from a big-box retailer.

It is a rather time-consuming process, but the money you save by painting cabinets yourself can be put toward that pricey quartz countertop you’ve been eyeing. We’ve broken down the steps below and included images of Houzz kitchens with gorgeous painted cabinets to inspire you — plus 8 examples of color and material palettes.

9 Daring Colors for Your Front Door

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 8.14.31 AMStand out from the neighbors with a touch of neon green or a punch of hot pink

I’m a firm believer that you can paint your front door just about any color you like and make it work. It’s all a matter of coordinating the door color with your home’s architecture and the other colors and materials on the house. When I work with design clients to select exterior color palettes, I often tell them a good starting point is to select a front door color they love or pick their main siding color first.

All too often we get confused and overwhelmed trying to nail down a complete color palette all at once and end up feeling unenthused about the individual colors selected. But if you start with, say, a fantastic front door color, and then select the other materials and hues to support this choice, you may have an easier go of it. To help inspire you, I’ve gathered examples of unusual front door colors and developed sample paint palettes you can try out on your own home.

Pet-Friendly Design: Making Room for the Dog Dish

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 3.32.30 PMIn a dog’s life, you eat on the floor. Except in kitchens like these, where pets are factored into the design

When I say there is nothing quite so unpleasant as stepping in a dog’s water dish, I speak from experience (no thanks, Augie). Like a good pet owner, I keep my pup’s water bowl filled with fresh water. It’s located in the kitchen, where I inevitably get busy and distracted and step in the drink. It has happened a lot, which goes to show you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

When I next remodel, I’m going to plan for this condition, using the clever ideas from these fellow pet owners as inspiration.