Saturday, January 30, 2010

All Fired up over Mantles

Mantles create instant architectural stature and give you a place to showcase treasured tchotchkies. In many rooms, they are the obvious focal point. Even if you don't have a fireplace, there are still ways to incorporate mantels into your decor.

Kelly Giesen built a faux mantel to house a flat panel tv. What a great alternative to the tv-over-the-fireplace cliche.

Easily convert a mantel into a stunning headboard by popping in a fabric wrapped panel. The folks at Apartment Therapy show you how.

Add shelves and backing to a salvaged mantle to adapt it into a bookcase. Instructions available at HGTV.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Forgotten Fifth Wall

The ceiling is the 5th wall in the room but rarely gets any love except for a coat of generic white paint. But there's plenty of opportunity to punch it up.


Bright stripes add youthful energy to an otherwise serious kids room.


A tufted ceiling makes an over-the-top statement. The black ceiling medallion and chandelier create sophisticated drama.

Eric Cohler

A crossword mural adds whimsy to a traditional family room.

Kelly Wearstler

Cover the ceiling and box the room in pattern.

Oldie but Goodie: Christopher Lowell's 7 Layers of Design

Remember Christopher Lowell? 10 years ago, he made interior design easy and accessible to the masses with his 7 Layers of Design approach. Whenever I get stumped on a room, I go back to the basics:

Layer 1: Paint and Architecture (moldings, mantel)
Layer 2: Installed Flooring (any floor surface that is wall to wall)
Layer 3: High Ticket Upholstery Items (sofa, love seat)
Layer 4: Accent Fabrics (area rugs and drapes)

Layer 5: Non-upholstered Furnishings (the work horses of the room, end tables, chairs, coffee tables)
Layer 6: Accessories (pictures, mirrors, candlesticks)
Layer 7: Plants and Lighting

Check out his website to see the 7 Layer of Design in action. This book has a permanent spot on my bookcase.

I Got Nailed

Lately, I've been obsessed with nail-head trim. The glimmer of metal adds a touch of glam to traditional silhouettes, and I'm particularly drawn to the juxtaposition of linen and metal.

Horchow Crocodile-Embossed Table

Crate & Barrel Colette Side Chair

WalMart Alisha Ottoman Bench

If you have pieces that can use a little updating, you can easily add some trim.

Nickel Nail Head Trim

Look 4 Less at Decorpad

If you're on a budget (who isn't these days), and want a high look at a low price, check out the Look 4 Less section at Decorpad. They offer affordable options to the high end originals.
All Modern Kartell Louis Ghost Chair: $410.00 (1)

Overstock Clear Acrylic Arm Chairs (Set of 2): $291.84 (with discounts)

I've been lusting after these Kartell Louis Ghost Chairs when I first saw them in Paris 10 years ago but couldn't bring myself to pay $400 per chair. Now there's an affordable option over at Overstock. Maybe I'll treat myself to an early birthday present.