Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

1, May

The best part of summer is dining al fresco – under the sun or under the stars. Make it memorable by bringing home a dining set that reflects your personal style as well as the type of atmosphere you’d like to set.

Here are five things to consider before buying a new table and chairs for your back yard:



How much space do you have?

Just like your dining room or kitchen, you want to make sure the furniture you choose is the same scale as the outdoor area in which it will be used. If you have a small deck or balcony, you’re better off choosing a small bistro set. If you have a large patio, select a larger grouping to maximize the space. Or if you’re creating zones, such as separate dining and seating areas, make sure the sizes complement each other.How many people do you sually host?

If it’s just your family of four, a round table with four chairs is a good choice. You can select a style with stacking chairs to keep on hand for those occasions where you have extra guests. If you regularly host a crowd, consider a large rectangular table, and bench seating, which can make room for more.


What is your interior style?

Your deck or patio should be an extension of your home, so choose lines and colors that blend. From rustic to modern, you can easily find a set that continues your style outdoors.


What kind of weather will your furniture experience?

It can be helpful to choose materials based on the exposure your deck or patio receive. If you have a lot of direct sunlight, aluminum is a good choice. It’s lightweight and rust-resistant, and it’s durable enough to stand up to the elements. Make sure you choose a set that includes a umbrella, so you can get some relief from the heat.

If your patio or deck is covered, wood furnishings are a nice (and natural!) choice. The finish can fade if it’s exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, and it requires more maintenance to protect it from the elements, but the beauty and patina will improve over time.



Will your dining area double as a sitting area?

Wicker furnishings make a great choice. Today’s versions are made of resin and are more durable than wicker of the past. This material works best with cushions, which means you can easily update the look and color by swapping them out. And wicker chairs are as comfortable as indoor furnishings, so family and friends will love to linger.





20, Apr

When to Plant

It’s time to add color and depth to your yard. If you’re headed out to your local nursery, here are plants that are ready to take root:


Trees and shrubs

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a mild and dry spring for Midwest planting, and trees and shrubs love cool conditions. Make sure you give them plenty of water for the first few weeks to keep them healthy and happy.



Add quick color with annuals. Plant them in beds or containers on your porch and patio for instant beauty.



Perennials are great because they come back year after year, lessening your workload. Here are 12 that do well in the Midwest, according to Midwest Living magazine: Coneflowers, butterfly weed, Lenten rose, Virginia bluebells, hardy geraniums, black-eyed Susans, allium, panicle hydrangeas, sedums, Russian sage, goldenrod, and aromatic aster.

18, Apr

Prepare Garden

The weather has finally turned and that means not only can you enjoy the outdoors, it’s time to get your yard ready for spring planting and backyard barbecue season. Here are three projects to tackle this weekend:


1. Prune roses

Prune your roses before new growth emerges, to shape the plant and encourage new growth that can produce lots of buds. Here are instructions that will keep you in bloom.


2. Divide perennials

Plants like irises and hostas can spread like wildflower, but they are healthier when they have space. Anything that’s grown to be two to three times its size needs to be dug up and divided. Here’s what you need to know.


3. Get a handle on weeds

Weeds can make all of your hard work in the garden look messy. Pull weeds when they’re small to avoid having them go to seed, creating more weeds. A good layer of mulch will also help. Experts say a two-inch spread will hold moisture and discourage weeds.


14, Apr

Spring is filled with reasons to celebrate. From Easter to Passover and Mother’s Day, make it special by setting a table that welcomes friends and family. Here are five tips for creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Spring Table 3

Photo credit: Meaningful Spaces/Pinterest

1. Choose your style. Before you start setting your table, consider your décor and design goals. Do you want your table to effortlessly reflect your design point of view or are you creating a special mood to reflect the season? This will help you choose the right pieces.

2. Select your dinnerware. Classic white is always in style and can be easily updated with colorful accessories. Or, mix and match to create a unique setting. If your plates are patterned, pair them with solid colored glasses and cutlery. Popular seasonal motifs include botanicals, flowers, butterflies and birds.

Spring Table

Photo credit: From The Woman Cave/Pinterest

3. Add colorful fabric. A spring table should be lit up with color of the season. Choose a bright tablecloth, runner, napkins or placemats. Or embrace pastels, with colors like pink, yellow, sky blue or mint green. If the fabrics on your table are bright, create balance by using neutral plates. Or if your dinnerware is the star of the show, keep your fabrics muted.

4. Consider your centerpiece. Spring is the perfect time to indulge in fresh flowers. Choose colors and shapes that complement your décor. You can also create individual bouquets at each place setting by choosing something small but meaningful. Get creative with containers, using a variety of vases, cups, mason jars or glasses.

Spring Table 2

Photo credit: Preppy Empty Nester/Pinterest

5. Finally, accessorize. A dining table proves several opportunities to add your special touch. Include candles, napkin rings, place cards and utensils. Be sure to create depth and dimension by taking advantage of pedestals, pillars and trays.

The most important thing is to make your guests feel welcome in the way only you can do. Whatever you choose will reflect your personality and style.


13, Apr

We’re spring cleaning the house room by room, and today’s area to tackle is the bedroom. Here are five tasks that will help you rest easy tonight:

  1. Replace heavy bedding and draperies with lighter linens, and wash items before you store them away.
  2. Vacuum under beds and behind furniture.
  3. Wipe down ceiling fixtures, lamp shades, blinds, baseboards, moldings and doorframes.
  4. Shampoo carpets, and shake out or clean rugs.
  5. Clear out the clutter by making three piles: one for trash, one for items to donate or recycle in another, and one for items that go someplace else.
11, Apr

Spring is the time to dust out the remnants of winter and welcome in the freshness of the season. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with the task, break it down room by room. Here are five tasks that will make your living spaces shiny and clean:

  1. Move furniture, and vacuum behind and under everything.
  2. Shampoo carpets, and shake out or clean rugs.
  3. Wipe down ceiling fixtures, lamp shades, blinds, baseboards, moldings and doorframes.
  4. Use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to clean your furniture.
  5. Clear out the clutter in the room, putting trash in one pile and items to donate or recycle in another. Then return items that go someplace else.


10, Apr

Spring is here and that means it’s time to say goodbye to winter. From gathering friends in the back yard to opening the windows to enjoy the breeze, it’s time to ready your home to celebrate the season. Here are some subtle changes you can make that will help you transition your home into spring in style.

Spring Living Room

1. In your living spaces, remove heavy draperies that keep you warm in winter, and replace them with linen or light sheers. You can also update your room with blinds or shades. Also, swap out thick wool rugs for flat weave versions or keep floors bare.

2. In your bathrooms, change out plush rugs for flat weave versions. Add a plant or a vase with fresh flowers. Then add hand towels in bright spring colors. You can also change your hand soap to one with a light scent.

Spring Dining Room

3. In your dining room, swap out heavy drapes for light sheers or consider keeping windows bare. Add greenery to your table centerpiece as well as your buffet. Invest in light colored dinnerware, adding punches of color with accent pieces.

4. Freshen up your entryway by removing heavy coats from the closet and putting away boot trays. Hang a festive floral wreath on your front door, and replace tired doormats and throw rugs. If you have a table in your foyer, add a vase filled with greenery or fresh flowers.

Spring Bedroom

5. In your bedroom, clean and store heavy linens, and replace with fabric such as cotton or linen, and a light coverlet. Breathable fabrics will help you stay comfortable as temps heat up. Add a vase with flowers to your nightstand, and update spice-scented candles with fragrances such as spring flowers or beach.

6, Apr

You’re probably ready for spring – but is your home? Spring cleaning wakes up your rooms and get them ready to shine in the sun. Here are three tasks to put on your to-do list this week:

1. Dust your drapes. Window treatments can collect lots of dirt and dust from the air. Put them in your dryer with a wet towel, and turn on the air-fluff cycle for 15 minutes. Hang them back in the windows immediately.

2. Clean your ceiling fan. This, too, can collect lots of dust on the blades. Using your favorite furniture polish, wipe them down and lightly buff.

3. Air out your linens. If you have a backyard clothesline, shake then out and let them hang in the sun for a few hours. Sunlight is a natural germ killer.

5, Apr

John Legend

When Chrissy Teigen and John Legend were looking to buy a home in New York City in 2013, they told Architectural Digest that the wanted someplace “cozy, warm, and full of character.” The winner was a loft-like one-bedroom in a historic building on the border of Little Italy and NoLIta. The quaint residence offered a dark, moody atmosphere – the opposite of what most people want, Legend told AD.

We love the living room, which is designed in moody blue with gold and tan accents. If you like the couple’s style, we’ve got the look.

Legend Sofa

Legend and Teigen’s living room features refined furnishings that look rich and luxurious, and helping to set that tone is a Chesterfield sofa. While it’s not the same color, our Grande Sofa has the identical silhouette. In grey, it provides a neutral anchor to the room ad offers regal lines and plush tufting.

Legend Blue Chair Legend Brown Chair


Vintage leather chairs in blue and tan provide added seating and texture to our sophisticated inspiration room. Our Carla Leather Accent Chair is striking, in deep blue leather. It offers a modern take on classic wingback style. Our Abbott Swivel Chair has a mid-century modern vibe. In brown leather, it brings a new color into the room.

Legend Ottoman

Instead of a cocktail table, the Legend/Teigen room uses an ottoman with striking patterned upholstery. Our Ambassador Cocktail Ottoman has a different shape, but its geographic pattern in grey, red and cream bring a similar feeling of energy and high design.

Legend Stool

Instead of end tables, our inspiration room uses metal stools, bringing a sense of light and an unexpected material to the space. Our Mahal Stool is made of distressed hammered steel. Its reclaimed teak wood top beautifully complements the brown leather chair.

Legend Chest

Finally, our inspiration room includes a metal chest near the windows, reflecting the light. Our Ivy Mirrored Cabinet would be a great choice. It features an antique silver finish and beveled mirror top and side panels. The doors and drawer are covered with linen-blend fabric, adding more texture to this wonderful room.

What do you think of John and Chrissy’s style? Let us know in the comments below?

4, Apr

Are you ready for spring? This is the time of year to open the windows, dust away winter and get your home spic and span. Here are three tasks to put on your to-do list to prepare your home for summer fun.

1. Clean your refrigerator. Remove the shelves and drawers, and wipe away spilled food. An eco-friendly cleaner is a combination of salt and soda water, according to HGTV. The bubbling action of the soda water combines with the abrasive texture of the salt to make a great cleaner.

2. Get rid of lime deposits. They can build up around your faucets and your refrigerator water dispenser. Place a paper towel over the area and soak with vinegar. Then let sit for an hour. The deposits will become soft and easy to remove.

3. Clean screens your screens. HGTV suggests using a scrap of carpeting, which acts like a soft brush, removing dirt.