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The Best Contemporary Furniture and Objects from Milan Design Week 2018

Milan, Italy’s Design Week is the destination for those who want to be first to see the newest contemporary design trends. Architects, designers and retailers all converge with the latest furniture pieces and avant-garde home objects. Soft edges, pastels and lots of Art Deco inspiration dominated the show this year. Here’s a roundup of the coolest (and most out-there) creations from Milan Design Week 2018.

The entrance to Missoni’s showroom for Milan Design Week 2018 featured oversized textiles printed in the fashion house’s signature patterns and colors. Image: Missoni Home

Patricia Urquiola’s Milan Design Week 2018 work

Designer and art director Patricia Urquiola created some of the most memorable pieces of the show. Her color selection and fluid lines were on-trend with the soft tones and Art-Deco-inspired vibe. Her collaboration of leather goods with Louis Vuitton for their Objets Nomades show were especially striking. Photography by Patricia Urquiola.

Urquiola’s leather Swing Chair for Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection.

Contemporary chairs and sofas

Modular pieces and color were popular among the best contemporary sofa and chair designs in Milan Design Week 2018, adding fun and personality back into the formal living room space.

best of Milan Design Week 2018

Tape by Benjamin Hubert for Moroso is a collection of modular pieces that mix and match to the configuration of your choice. Polyurethane tape in a contrasting color, which is used for sportswear, joins the seams of the collection. Image: Moroso

Gerrit Rietveld’s Beugel Chair was produced in 1930 but got a refresh with modern materials. The design of chair remains unchanged; it looks as contemporary today as it did nearly 90 years ago. Chair and image: Cassina

milan design week 2018

Arper’s Kiik Collection, designed by Iwasaki Studios, is inspired by Japanese minimalism. Image: Arper

This outdoor stool is shaped like a donut, created by Mikiya Kabayashi for Diabla. Image: Diabla


Wisse Trooster’s Cardboard and LED lights for Cartoni are lightweight and earth-friendly. Image: Cartoni

Oversized orbs of pleated fabric create these dramatic hanging pendant lamps. Product and image: PaulinePlusLuis

Designer Federica Biasi was inspired by antique Art Deco lamps when creating this updated Deco pendant. Image: Federica Biasi

Everyday objects

Sonos has finally broken from its signature black and white wireless speaker design. In collaboration with the Danish design brand HAY, the speakers come in yellow, red and emerald green. Image: Sonos

Simone Crestani reimagined the ordinary carafe and made it rock-and-roll sexy. Image: Simone Crestani

Avant-garde objects

Some objects and furniture pieces were odd, yet beautifully fascinating. The following had visitors doing double takes as they passed.

Erez Nevi Pana designed a line of “vegetarian” furniture like this Salts Stool with earthy elements like salt and soil. Check out the fascinating process of how he made this stool here. Image: Erez Nevi Pana

best of milan design week 2018

“Puddle” is a blown glass orb that appears to be melting off the table. Object and image: Elinor Portnoy

This whimsical lamp would be perfect in a baby’s nursery. Chandelier and image: Marcantonio Raymond Malerba

The Justine Cabinet in presented in an unusual kidney shape. Cabinet design and image: Matteo Cibic

Textile and texture

Cristina Celestine found inspiration in Renaissance-era garden grottos for these new tiles. Image: Fornace Brioni

Spanish fashion house Loewe’s new line of home textile went global with Japanese silk, African weaves and Indian textiles. Image: Loewe

Bottega Veneta’s new table line features patterned Travertine tops. No two are alike. Image: Bottega Veneta

What’s your favorite contemporary item from this year’s Milan Design Week? We’d love to hear in the comments.

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Buying a Rental Property for the First Time? Here Are Your 4 Most Important Considerations

Ready to buy a rental property? Here’s what to look out for. Image: Rawpixel

Are you thinking about buying a rental property? Congratulations! That’s a huge step toward financial growth. However, be aware that buying a rental property isn’t the same as buying your own home. In fact, the two have a widely different set of considerations to bear in mind.

Luckily, we’re here to help you sort it all out. Below we’ve listed four of the most important factors to look out for when investing in real estate. Read them over and keep them in mind as you start looking at potential properties.


Pick a location that suits your ideal renter. Image: Weston Owen

Location, location, location

You may have heard that location is the most important factor when buying a home — and that’s true. However, when choosing a location for your rental property, there’s no single hard-and-fast rule to follow. The ideal location for you depends on the type of renter you’re hoping to attract.

Those hoping to attract a younger crowd should look in the heart of the action. Young renters who aren’t ready to buy on their own like to be close to amenities like shops, restaurants and public transportation. Typically, these renters are willing to pay higher rents for convenience. But beware: They also come with a higher turnover rate.

The other option is renting to families. Obviously, this type of renter will require a larger space, but they’ll also be looking in a totally different locale. For these renters, focus more on properties in established neighborhoods and decent school districts. While you should expect slightly lower rents, it’s often made up for in the stability afforded by those looking for a long-term rental.

cash flow

Check cash flow to ensure your new rental is a good investment. Image: Rawpixel

Positive cash flow

Often, great rental properties come with an existing rental history. This is great for you, because it affords you the chance to see how well a potential investment will pay off. If the previous investor was astute, they will probably have some sort of cash flow analysis, or record of how much money was brought in versus spent, on hand.

As a potential buyer, you can always have your agent ask the seller for a copy of these documents. The seller is not obligated to share these with you, though most will be willing to at least open up about past rental values and average utility costs.

If you can’t access this information directly, you can estimate your own. Here’s how:

  • Use a mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payment
  • Search public records to see how much you’ll owe in property taxes
  • Add in a 10% cushion for upfront costs like repairs
  • Subtract that number from an average rental income, based on similar properties in your area

If the number comes out positive, you may have a smart investment on your hands.


First-timers should stick to turn-key homes. Image: Black & Milk

Decent condition

This may sound counterintuitive, but you don’t want your first rental property to be a fixer-upper. Purely from a financial standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. Often, properties in need of lots of TLC end up having larger problems than first anticipated. This racks up costs quickly, especially if you’re hiring out the labor.

In this case, it makes more sense to pay a little more for a turn-key home, where the extra expenditure can be rolled out through the life of the loan. Have an agent work up closing costs for you; in all likelihood, you’ll end up paying only a few dollars more each month for a much nicer property overall.

As for what to look for, functionality is key. When buying a rental property, you don’t need to spring for the fanciest house on the block, but aim to find a home in your target location with all of its pieces in working order. That said, keep in mind that having a few nice extras like stainless steel appliances or an open concept floorplan may entice future renters to pay a bit more each month.

changing lightbulb

Make sure you’re ready to take on the home’s upkeep. Image: Rawpixel

Estimated upkeep

The last piece to look into when buying a rental property is how much ongoing upkeep it may need. Obviously, every rental will require regular maintenance, but you can hedge your bets by looking at the property’s unique factors. Is there a lush backyard that needs regular upkeep? Is the home and its systems older or more updated?

Once you’ve collected that information to the best of your ability, it’s time to be honest with yourself about how much work you can do on your own. Are you capable of handling small, handyman-type fixes around the home? Are you willing to stop by every few weeks to cut the grass? There’s no right answer here. You can always hire a property manager to do the dirty work for you, but that’s also another cost to consider.

Do you have any experience buying a rental property? What other tips do you have for prospective buyers? Tell us all about it in the comments.

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Color Knockout: 20 Accent Chairs That Will Rock Your World

Colorful accent chairs are making waves in decor, and it’s not hard to see why: They’re an easy way to update and invigorate your space. If you find yourself boxed into a too-neutral color palette but you’re not ready to make a huge change to the room, add an accent chair for color or focus. One or two new accent pieces can turn your color palette around instantly. With your new accent chair color in place, adding a few decorative accessories in the same color will give your space that elusive put-together look.

Accent chairs are available in every decorating style and color, making it easy to find the perfect match for your home. Here are some of our favorites in the top decorating styles.

Contemporary accent chairs

Contemporary style is clean and unfussy, and contemporary accent chairs are great for rooms where you need a simple addition without clutter. The legs and hardware are often imaginative and unique. Look for simple lines and unexpected colors.

The low-backed Mcgrane Armchair from Joss & Main is a subtle addition to any room. Image: Joss & Main

Green Modern Accent Chair

This whimsical Canyon Vista accent chair from Langley Street for Wayfair adds a pop of color. Image: Wayfair

Contemporary White Chair

A white accent chair, like Instant Home’s Isabel chair from Wayfair, can calm a bright color scheme. Image: Wayfair

Contemporary Teal Chair

Wayfair’s Coral Springs accent chair in dark teal works well in a cool color palette. Image: Wayfair

Glam accent chairs

Velvet texture and luxurious patterns are the must-have fabrics for your glam accent chair. We love the growing trend of gold metals, like satin brass, as an extra-glamorous touch in glam decor. This style is all about being a little over-the-top in decorating, meaning accent chairs that make a bold statement.

Lilly Pulitzer glam chair

Lilly Pulitzer’s Madison upholstered accent chair features a fun and glamorous print. Image: Pottery Barn

Royal Blue Chair

The Highbury accent chair is regal in royal blue. Image: Joss & Main

Teal Accent Chair

Rich peacock blue sets the Huntingdon accent chair apart. Image: Joss & Main

Green Glam Chair

Gold metal accents rev up the glam of the Lakeview Barrel Chair. Image: Joss & Main

Boho accent chairs

We love boho style for its vibrant colors and Bohemian patterns. Look for saturated color palettes and lush fabrics for your boho accent chair. Don’t forget to add accent pillows and a throw in similar colors — the boho style is all about comfort.

Colorful Boho Accent Chair

Get the best of boho style with the Bungalow Rose Crown Slipper Chair in a colorful print. Image: Wayfair

Fuchsia Boho Chair

Add vibrancy to your dining room or office with the Bungalow Rose Latta accent chair. Image: Wayfair

Gray Print Boho Chair

A gray print accent chair adds pops of color to your boho room without overwhelming it. Image: Wayfair

Pink boho chair

A cheerful boho chair (or two) can brighten up your bedroom. Image: Wayfair

Rustic and modern farmhouse accent chairs

Rustic and modern farmhouse decor also invites stylish accent chairs. Even if your accent colors are neutral, you can add style through texture and design. We love these rustic accent chairs for their unique design and fabric.

Modern Farmhouse chair

Try a traditional chair with unexpected ikat fabric for your rustic home. Image: Wayfair

Rustic Modern Plaid Chair

The Bryant Armchair pairs plaid with a rustic silhouette for a fun take on modern farmhouse style. Image: Wayfair

Modern rustic accent chair

The Phillip armchair’s whimsical print makes your modern farmhouse living room come alive with rustic style. Image: Wayfair

Rustic modern accent chair

Modern lines and rustic fabrics create the simplicity of this Wovenwood accent chair. Image: Wayfair

Mid-century modern accent chairs

Mid-century modern style is fun to play with in any room. The exaggerated lines and saturated colors of the 1950s provides many options for accent chairs. We love the whimsical shapes and cheerful colors of these chairs.

Blue mid-century chair

Bright pastel colors and whimsical lines make the Bouck Wingback a effortless accent piece for your mid-century home. Image: All Modern

White mid-century modern chair

White faux fur gives the Hillingdon armchair a playful retro look. Image: All Modern

Wood mid-century modern chair

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Steel-Framed Café Becomes Hanging Garden in Vietnam

Studio Le House recently completed An’garden Café, an original spot for daily gatherings located in Hà Đông, Hà Nội, Vietnam. This steel-framed café has a total surface area of 8,072.9 square feet (750 square meters) and features a playful layout. Plants and flowers add character throughout the space, inspiring a sense of freshness and seclusion.

“While a house full of steel frame may sound dry and heavy, the impression of An’garden Café comes from impromptu hanging plant pots, conjuring up a vision of a dreamlike hanging garden,” the architects say. “This building aimed for an exclusive place that brings guests enjoyment from both coffee fragrance and picturesque surroundings. ”

Despite clear industrial influences, this original steel-framed café in Vietnam feels welcoming. Dim lighting and plenty of wood finishes help achieve a friendly atmosphere.

“The facade of this shop intermingles large pieces of glass with steel frames,” the architects add. “Simple cement walls separate the pavement from indoor space. In order to minimize heavy feelings of cement, plants are considered an optimal solution that synchronizes with the indoor environment.”

Because the tables are organized in a variety of configurations, the space invites both large gatherings and intimate talks. A small pond with aquatic plants under the staircase adds to the charm. Photography by Hiroyuki Oki.

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5 Gallery Wall Hacks for a Fresh Spin on an Old Classic

These five gallery wall hacks will help you add visual interest to any space. Image: Domus Nova

The gallery wall. When done right, it’s impressive. When done poorly, it can be a mess. Art must be spaced correctly and hung straight. (We’ve already explored some of the core tips and tricks for hanging a gallery wall.) Even so, those aren’t always the biggest problems you face when hanging a gallery wall. How do you differentiate your wall and make sure the end result of all that effort is something you truly love? These five gallery wall hacks will help you nail it.

Ultimately, you want your gallery wall to add visual interest to your home. It turns an entire wall into a canvas with which you can play. Above all, hanging a gallery wall should be fun! Using these five tips will help you build a gallery wall you, your friends and your family will admire for years to come.

gallery wall hacks - start small

Don’t be daunted by gallery walls. Just a few pictures grouped together is a starting point. Image: Shanade McAllister-Fisher

1. Start small

Building the perfect gallery wall is like most things: It takes time. While we’d love to give you the tools to build a massive, flawless display tomorrow, a little practice makes perfect. Instead of pulling out your hair trying to nail a large-scale wall on the first go, start simple. A few smaller pictures are a great (and oftentimes more cost-effective) substitute for large artwork. Choose an area where you had planned to hang a single, larger piece and try your hand at a small gallery wall.

Once you get your feet under you with spacing and straightening a few pictures, expanding to a larger area will feel less stressful. The more fun you can have with it, the better your results!

gallery wall hacks - work with your space

Follow the natural lines of your house when spacing your gallery wall. Image: Heidi Caillier Design

2. Work with what you’ve got

A gallery wall is a perfect opportunity to highlight your home’s natural flow. Build your wall around the existing fireplace or the line of your stairs. Interweaving your home’s art and architecture marries the two. It also helps your gallery wall look like it belongs, making it an interesting part of your decor rather than a random group of pictures on your wall.

gallery wall hacks - matting

Matting adds space to your gallery wall and keeps it from looking too heavy. Image: Home Polish

3. Mind your matting

One of the biggest challenges facing gallery wall hangers is balance. How do you hang a number of pictures on your wall without it feeling clunky or heavy? Oftentimes, the answer lies in matting. Matting your pictures is one of the best gallery wall hacks because it’s like adding white space to design: It creates a natural pause, adding a feeling of lightness and breath. When you’re hanging an eclectic group of art, matting photos and prints helps fill in the gaps and keep things balanced.

gallery wall hacks - framing

Playing with different types of frames adds depth to your gallery wall. Image: Studio Wok

4. Have fun with framing

The art itself isn’t the only thing you can play with when hanging a gallery wall. If you’ve ever seen a gallery wall that looked a little bland, the frames may be to blame. In most gallery walls, frame size changes. You don’t have to stop there, though. Add different colors or textures when hanging unframed prints and canvases. Changing up the edging of your artwork gives the eye interesting lines to follow, adding dynamism to your wall.

gallery wall hacks - monochromatic

A monochromatic gallery wall keeps things looking polished. Image: Stafford Bensen

5. Go monochromatic

Are you feeling overwhelmed when picking art for your gallery wall? Choose a color that you love and work from there. Having a core color – or even going monochromatic altogether – ensures that every item on your gallery wall works with the whole. When you go monochromatic, you get more freedom to play with spacing and alignment, because your wall will look cohesive regardless.

Hanging a gallery wall takes time. It requires you to map things out and think through your vision, but all that work is worth it for a stunning end result. Armed with these gallery wall hacks, you’re ready to create a full wall of art that will wow your friends.

How will you use these gallery wall hacks to enhance your home? Let us know in the comments.

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HGTV’s Chip Wade: DIY Hacks to Transform Your Backyard on a Budget

Chip Wade of HGTV and the DIYNetwork is known for such shows as “Designed to Sell,” “Curb Appeal” and “Elbow Room.” He’s also a Liberty Mutual Consultant – and a new survey from Liberty Mutual revealed that for 52% of consumers who completed a DIY project, saving money was the number one objective. With all this in mind, we asked Wade for some simple DIY ways to transform your backyard into an outdoor haven on a budget.

Consider starting to transform your backyard with simpler spaces close to the house. Image: McClellan Architects

Think about layout

Some homeowners get carried away and want to create multiple backyard spaces, but Wade advises against this approach. “For most clients, I actually encourage them to look at smaller outdoor living setups that are close to the house structure, rather than making multiple destination areas.” He also believes that this will help you concentrate more of your budget in one place.

The first and most important step is to think about your main goal in creating your outdoor oasis; Wade says that planning ahead will make the final design more effective. “If you’re an entertainer and plan to host large parties, the layout might be different than if it’s just for the family to eat outside or watch the sunset once in a while.”

garden trellis

A painted trellis gives subtle character to an outdoor space. Image: The Garden Trellis Company

Start small

If this is your first DIY project, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start simple. “Doing something as small as changing up the trellis could change the look of your deck drastically,” Wade says. “Or, you can use the trellis to hook on a swing and bring your seating up off the ground.” Off-ground seating facilitates easier cleanup and makes the space feel airy.

Wade recommends keeping it simple with plants as well. “Start with the hardscape, then work on creating very focused areas,” he says. “It forces the eye exactly where you want it.” He recommends creating a few landscape beds using focused colors. “Minimize maintenance, and make clearly defined paths from one feature location to the next.”

patio overhead structure

Hanging lights and firepits provide light and warmth on chilly nights. Image: Yardscapes Northwest

Keep exterior limitations in mind

Regarding exterior light, Wade believes that an overhead structure is your best bet, but there have been advancements in low-voltage backyard options. “My recent projects have included LED lights — safe, bright and long-lasting. Put lawn lights around the focal features of the yard, for example, or light up a water feature.”

Because this is your outdoor haven, you also want to be comfortable even among the elements. “Consider adding a cooling feature to beat the heat,” Wade says. “If you have an irrigation system, you could add a perimeter misting wall around your hardscape patio.” And, since some of these systems spray a fine mist that reaches up to eight feet, this can also act as a barrier for mosquitos.

outdoor firepit

Gravel is an easy option for hardscape patios. Image: Norwood Architects

Consider a low-maintenance hardscape patio

An easy project to transform your backyard is a hardscape patio. A hardscape patio provides immediate functionality, and you can avoid having a maintenance-intensive backyard. Or, as Wade says: “Less grass to mow, fewer flowers to maintain.”

However, if you’ve never done something like this before, he recommends that you do your research. While it’s definitely a project that homeowners can tackle themselves, using the right materials is crucial. A gravel patio, one of the easiest options, adds texture and interest to your backyard. There are several types of decorative gravel to choose from, including quartzite and pea pebbles, with colors from gold to gray to black to white. If you opt for flagstone instead, make sure it’s at least two inches thick so it won’t crack.

outdoor fireplace

Even for minor projects, it’s important to sketch out your ideas well in advance. Image: Landscape Studio

Plan ahead to avoid DIY disasters

To avoid DIY fails, it’s a good idea to start collecting ideas and inspiration a year in advance. “You do not need that much time,” Wade says, “but a good design can take up to eight weeks to create, and it’s important to consider that to get a realistic time frame.”

It’s also crucial to check with your insurance company before you begin to transform your backyard, especially if you’re doing a major renovation. “If you’ve added a section to your home that increases its value, be sure to ask your rep if you need more insurance coverage to protect your investment.”

transform your backyard with a patio fireplace

More complex projects often require the help of professionals roofers, electricians and plumbers. Image: Huettl Landscape Architecture

Know when to call a professional

However, even with the best intentions, some projects may ultimately require a professional. The Liberty Mutual Insurance survey revealed that 32% of DIY homeowners experience a DIY fail. “Unless you are 100% confident you can safely complete the project, I recommend hiring a professional,” Wade says. “There are many maintenance tasks that I call DDIY: don’t do it yourself.”

He puts roofing in this category, saying, “Unless you are certified, you should never get on the roof.” Other important tasks that should be left to the pros: electrical or gas projects, toxic material removal and plumbing.

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No Tools Required: 20 Modern Flat-Pack Furniture Pieces for Your Next Move

Having to disassemble, pack and move heavy furniture is tough. But there’s a solution: flat-pack furniture. This new wave of moving-friendly furniture makes it easy to relocate. There’s no hardware to lose and no tools required.

Modern, stylish and eco-friendly, most flat-pack furniture pieces are also modular, so you can reconfigure them according to the space in your new home. Check out these 20 beautiful and easy-to-move furniture items for your next move!


How would you like a sofa that fits in boxes like this…

Four 50-pound boxes hold Burrow’s well-made sofa, with handles for easy transportation.

…and looks like this?

modular flat-pack furniture and sofas in a box -

Starting at $1,095, the handcrafted sofa by Burrow features reversible seat cushions and USB outlets underneath. Thanks to snapping hinges, it also assembles in about five minutes. It starts as a two-seater but expands into a sectional.

Make your next move easier with modern flat-pack furniture that expands from a two-seater into a sofa as large as you need

sofas in a box and flat pack sofas -

Hem debuted this stylish and expandable flat-pack sofa this year.

flat pack furniture -

Hem’s Kumo sofa, shown here as a four-seater and above as a loveseat, can also be used as a single armchair or configured into a sectional. The legs, arms and cushions break down for moving.


This modern platform bed breaks down in minutes

flat pack furniture -

The Floyd platform bed is made of birch and steel and breaks down into flat panels.

A stylish daybed converts to a guest sleeper

flat pack beds -

The Choy Daybed’s bolster, two single-bed-size cushions and unscrewable legs can be disassembled with no tools.

flat pack beds -

Place the two cushions together to create a queen-size guest bed.


Use this slatted chair indoors or outdoors and fold it up when you’re done

flat pack furniture -

CB2’s Maya chair‘s solid wood slats can be quickly folded up for a move (or when not in use).

This flat-pack chair converts into a daybed and bed

flat pack chairs -

The Wolfe convertible chair has a mid-century modern look and is multi-functional.

flat pack furniture -

Unfold the Wolfe chair into a daybed or drop the back flat to create a single bed. For a move, unscrew the legs for a seamless transition.


These no-tools-required tables and desks by IKEA feature mid-century style

flat pack furniture no tools required furniture -

Ikea’s LISABO table series snaps together in minutes, no tools required.

move-friendly furniture that flat packs easily -

The LISABO flat pack furniture collection is mid-century modern and crafted in solid wood. Legs snap off quickly, making the pieces move-friendly.

This eco-friendly bamboo desk uses slots instead of screws

flat pack furniture - freshome,com

Legare Furniture has a whole line of furniture that requires no tools to assemble or disassemble, like this desk, which can be configured into lengths of four, five or six feet. Made of strong and eco-friendly bamboo, it slots together like a puzzle to quickly set up or to break down flat.

Fashionable flat-pack side tables combine functionality and style

no tools furniture requiring no assembly -

Zanocchi & Starke’s Frida Side Tables integrate the red disassembly tool as a design feature.

flat pack furniture -

The legs notch together, and a bright red tool attaches the top to the legs securely.

A timeless table makes moving a snap

flat pack furniture -

The Time Desk or Table by Nomi can be designed in the color, size and finish of your choice. Legs connect to the tabletop using connectors that tighten with a coin.

Small spaces are no problem with this folding desk

flatpack furniture -

The OneSpace Basics desk is fitted with a dual USB charger, requires no assembly, folds flat for moving or storage and is only $59.

This mid-century modern table can also function as a work desk

The Floyd Table is solid and sturdy. Available in several sizes and finishes, you can use the table as a desk or dining table — or both.


Imagine a bookcase that snaps together like a puzzle

flat pack furniture -

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8 Easy Ways to Add Color to Your Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

Modern farmhouse kitchens are rustic and relaxing. Image: Todd Glowka Builder, inc

Modern farmhouse style is a huge influence on kitchens right now. HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” propelled this warm and welcoming look into our kitchens in a big way. To achieve this style, it’s important to start with the must-have elements before bringing in your own creative touches. Once you nail the basics of modern farmhouse style, you can personalize it with your own color palette. Below, we outline eight easy tips for adding your own colorful accents while keeping a relaxed and rustic vibe.

Modern farmhouse style must-haves

  • Rustic architectural features like open beams, wood floors and unfinished mantels are the most recognizable elements of the modern farmhouse design.
  • White or light neutral colors are the most common palette.
  • Furniture is often artisan-created or designed with a craftsmen-like appearance.
  • Lighting should be the most modern element of the room, using lustrous metals.
Blue Farmhouse kitchen

Customize your farmhouse kitchen with colorful cabinets. Image: Rockwood Cabinetry

1. Start with colorful cabinets

White- and wood-toned cabinets are still wildly popular, but more colorful options like gray and navy blue are storming the scene. These colors can anchor your modern farmhouse kitchen. Two-toned cabinetry, usually white over gray or navy blue, creates interest in a kitchen that lacks architectural features.

Modern farmhouse Gingham Kitchen

Glass-front cabinets give a peek of color in your farmhouse kitchen. Image: Cheryl Scrymgeour Interior Design

2. Glass cabinet doors reveal a pop of color

A clever way to add color your kitchen is by painting the inside of your kitchen cabinets, allowing the color to peek out from glass doors. You can also use this pop of color in the back of shelving or bookcases. Muted neutrals and pastel colors are a natural fit for rustic decorating, especially inside cabinets and shelves.

Cement Tile Farmhouse Kitchen

Add interest to your kitchen with a cement tile backsplash. Image: Arrowtown Construction

3. Add color with a tile backsplash

The most popular tile backsplash colors for modern farmhouse kitchens are white or gray. Historically, subway tiles and chevron patterns — usually in neutral colors — have dominated backsplash design. After years of white and neutral kitchens, cement backslash and floor tiles with colorful patterns are a growing trend that puts color back into kitchens.

Farmhouse Kitchen Fixture Ideas

It’s okay to mix metal fixtures in your modern farmhouse kitchen. Image: John Thayer Cabinetry

4. Mix your metal fixtures

Satin brass, copper and bronze fixtures are not only welcome in a modern farmhouse kitchen, but mixing and matching them creates a custom look without adding a lot of color. Your kitchen faucet is the most prominent metal feature at eye level, so choose one that fits in with your backsplash and counters. Lighting is also a good place to mix and match metals, as it’s crucial to the entire kitchen design.

Pastel wall color softens a farmhouse kitchen. Image: ROM Architecture

5. Move beyond white walls

Painted white walls are a mainstay of modern farmhouse kitchen decorating. Light neutral walls show off the rustic wood features and highlight architectural elements. Simple neutral walls may not be your thing — that’s where today’s muted pastel paint colors come in. You can still show off the rustic features of your kitchen with a soft pastel wall color. Choose your wall color after you’ve chosen your cabinet, tile and countertops. With so many paint color choices, it’s easier to choose the right color later than to try matching larger items to existing walls.

Farmhouse Kitchen Shelving

Open shelving is great for adding colorful accents to your kitchen. Image: Fox Signature Home -Kim Lindsey Photography

6. Add colorful dishes on open shelving

Chunky and rustic shelving is true to the modern farmhouse style. Unvarnished wood shelves are the most style-specific choice, but if you like a less cluttered look, you can paint your shelves the color of your walls. Dishes and bowls in your favorite colors placed on shelves bring color to your kitchen with very little effort. Open shelving also gives you a place for accessories without cluttering your countertops.

Modern farmhouse clock

Large wall art and clocks are must-haves for a farmhouse kitchen. Image: Lydia Uzell Interior Design

7. Choose wall art for your kitchen

With dozens of other decisions at play, artwork for the kitchen is easily overlooked. Whether you choose an iconic large clock or a sign, your wall art is an easy way to add color to your neutral walls. The secret to using artwork in modern farmhouse decorating is scale. Large wall art gives your kitchen charm and vintage character. Keep your wall art palette simple with two or three colors; busy patterns and bright colors can distract from the simplicity of your design.

Farmhouse kitchen ceiling ideas

Your ceiling is an unexpected surface for adding color to your kitchen. Image: Cotner Building Company

8. Consider an unexpected accent color on your ceiling

There is a fifth wall in your kitchen — the ceiling. Yes, you can bring color into the room by using your ceiling as an accent wall. If there is a color you would love to include but you want to keep your walls neutral, your ceiling may be the solution. It’s a brave decorating move, and we recommend sampling …read more      

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The Whole Foods Home Store Is yet Another Reason to Hang out at the Market

Do you already spend lots of time and money at Whole Foods? If so, get ready to permanently camp out at its Bridgewater, NJ location: It’s just added on a Whole Foods home store.

The Bridgewater location is the first to implement this home emporium, “Plant & Plate.” Designed by the Austin-based architectural firm Studio Gee, the surroundings are as perfect as the goods for sale.

A rendering of Plant & Plate vs. the finished product. Image: Studio Gee Instagram

Besides a range of kitchen items, housewares and essential-oil-based beauty items, the Whole Foods home store will sell:

Hedley & Bennett aprons

The Whole Foods home store offers a selection of professional-grade canvas aprons. Image: Hedley & Bennett

Beaucycled jewelry

whole foods home store

Philadelphia-based Beaucycled creates earth-friendly jewelry. Image: Beaucycled

Apotheke candles

whole foods home store plant and plate apotheke

Handmade in Brooklyn, Apotheke candles are constructed with plant-based materials and essential oil scents. Image: Apotheke

Plant & Plate meshes well with the Whole Foods brand, with brick walls, an airy layout and local, earth-friendly products.

The Bridgewater store Instagram showcases a small selection of products available at Plant & Plate. Image: Whole Foods Bridgewater Instagram

In an interview for My Central Jersey, Whole Foods Northeast Public Relations Coordinator Tina Clabbers-Feigley described the Whole Foods home store as “inspired by nature.” Natural beeswax candles, mouth-blown glass, earthenware pottery and bamboo utensils and cutting boards are among the nature-inspired offerings.

A variety of home goods line the shelves at Plant & Plate. Image: My Central Jersey

Although there’s been no official announcement, Whole Foods is planning to open other Plant & Plate locations nationwide. Each home store will have its own community-specific look and product selection. “We try with every store we open to adapt it to the community and give people what they want,” affirmed Clabbers-Feigley.

plant & plate interior

Each Whole Foods home store will reflect the community in which it’s based. Image: Whole Foods Bridgewater Instagram

Local home products at the flagship Plant & Plate include pottery by Bridgewater resident Keiko Inouye. She’s the First Apprentice to the son of Japanese National Living Treasure, Kei Fujiwara. Top restaurants like Fascino, Heirloom Kitchen and Viaggio all display her pottery.

whole foods plant and plate

Pottery by Keiko Inouye is available at the Bridgewater Whole Foods home store. Image: Keiko Inouye

What do you think of the latest Whole Foods addition? Let us know in the comments.

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6 Ways to Make Your Home Feel Brighter Now

Some simple changes will make your home feel brighter immediately. Image: Tatum Brown

Spring is in full bloom! It’s a time of late sunsets and warm breezes, but you don’t need to step outside to soak up the season. Make your home feel brighter right now, and you can enjoy the freshness of the season indoors.

While “spring cleaning” is pretty standard, “spring redecorating” might sound like a whole different beast, but it can make all the difference in your home. Your redecorating doesn’t need to be major. With these six easy changes, you can make your home feel brighter and invite the spring season in.

make your home feel brighter with lighting

Recessed lighting replicates natural lighting. Image: Echelon Custom Homes

1. Start with the basics: light sources

You’re ready to make your home feel brighter, and you can probably guess the best place to start. Lighting makes a world of difference. The more natural light you can bring into your home this spring, the better, but, where natural light falls short, think through how you fill in the gaps.

The higher a light is hung, the more it’s able to simulate natural light. Recessed lighting is a huge help in adding brightness. You don’t have to limit that light to your ceilings, either. Build recessed lighting into cabinets to add even more warmth.

make your home brighter with window coverings

Light curtains hung high on the wall maximizes natural light. Image: Parkyn Design

2. Minimize your window coverings

Window coverings can trap much of the light you want to bring into your home. On the contrary, light-colored, lightweight curtains hung high will make your windows feel open and airy.

If you normally have heavy or dark curtains hanging, consider swapping them out seasonally. This relatively easy change makes your home feel refreshed and ready for the warm months ahead.

make your home feel brighter outdoors

Expand your living space to the outdoors. Image: Grandin Road

3. Explore outdoor living

Don’t limit yourself to the walls of your home. If you have outdoor space, use it. Setting out a few chairs where you can relax and enjoy the balmy spring evenings expands your living space to the outdoors, where you’ll find an abundance of brightness. You get extra points if you can set up your outdoor living area near an indoor one. Leaving the door open between the spaces connects the two, bringing that fresh feeling of the outdoors in.

Here are a handful of more ways you can help your home simulate the outdoors this spring.

make your home feel brighter with mirrors

Hanging mirrors reflect natural light, brightening the room. Image: Pegasus Builders

4. Hang mirrors to make your home feel brighter

When you think about brightening your home, you think about adding light, right? Wouldn’t it be great if you could take the light you already have shining inside, and multiply it? There is: mirrors. Strategically place mirror art near windows and doors, where natural light is already abundant. The light will bounce off the mirror and into your home.

make your home feel brighter with furniture legs

Adding legs to furniture brings airiness to a room. Image: Lisa Petrole

5. Elevate your furniture

Heavy, squat furniture doesn’t do you any favors when you’re trying to make your home feel airier. You don’t have to buy a whole new set of furniture, either. You can add new legs to couches and dressers, lifting them off the ground to add more breathing room around your furniture. Swap out clunky desk, coffee table, and dining table legs for something that can carry the weight of your furniture without adding visual weight to the room, like hairpin legs.

make your home feel brighter with plants

Plants add vibrancy to any room. Image: Kim Rodger Design

6. Decorate with plants

Spring is a season for new life. You want to make your home feel brighter to carry some of that newness of spring into your living spaces. What better way to do that than by actually bringing living things into your home? Decorating with plants adds vibrancy to any room. A simple orchid on the dining table or a small tree in the corner can be enough to make a room feel alive and energized.

Spring is here, bringing a perfect time to refresh and energize your home. Use these tips to make each room in your house feel bright and airy.

Have a favorite tip for bringing spring indoors? Leave a comment and let us know!

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