Table Design for everyday dining

Tastemaker, March 2014


A dining table is a statement piece, something reflective of your home’s overall style and a gathering place for family and friends. But if you aren’t careful, your table can all too easily become a dumping ground, a place for stray papers, computers, dishes, and other odds and ends. And there’s nothing chic about clutter. However, with a few key decorating moves you can transform your dining table into a showpiece without making it so formal it’s unlivable for the day-to-day. Whether it’s in your kitchen or in your dining room, we have four designer tips and tricks to help you make your dining table look polished at all times!

Bowl of Lemons

Lemons are always great to have on hand when mixing drinks or whipping up dinner. But a bowl of lemons is a simple way to add a pop of color to your dining table as well. When you have something fresh on your table you are much more likely to keep clutter to a minimum. Lemons add lightness and life to a table without the short shelf-life of fresh flowers.

Table Runner

If you have a beautiful table, you don’t want it covered up. However, a table runner is the perfect way to incorporate a room’s overall design style while still letting the table’s style shine through. Since a table runner is smaller than a tablecloth, you can get away with a very bold pattern, in colors that coordinate with the overall room. Top the table runner with a vase of flowers or a matching tea pot to tie together the whole look.

Decorative Tray

A decorative tray gives elegant order to items you may want to keep on the table without the look of clutter and random stacks. You could use it to set out a coffee or tea service, a bowl of fruit, or simply layer a vase of flowers inside, giving you an anchoring point for your table without the use of a tablecloth or runner, if you’d like to keep your table looking minimal.

Mismatched Dining Chairs

A mismatched set of chairs, painted in the same color, is the perfect way to add some charm to your dining room table. This can tie together a collection of antique chairs in a variety of styles and add significant color to a room. You can then top your table with dishes, flowers, or other accessories that coordinate with the color of the chairs.

How do you keep your dining table looking fresh and styled?


Four Decorating Ideas For Your Staircase

Tastemaker, February 2014


A staircase is an often-forgotten area when it comes to interior design. But when wooden stairs get old, it can become an eyesore, detracting from the overall look of your home. Fortunately, there are several simple decorating ideas that can offer a staircase a major face-lift without a major price tag. Below, we have a few decorating ideas to elevate the look of your steps and make them pop!

Rug Runner

Stair runners are back in style and are a perfect way to add color and texture to your staircase. They’re easy to personalize, with countless patterns, color, and fabric options, so whatever you choose can coordinate with your overall decor. You can make even more of a statement by first painting your stairs white, for a bright, clean backdrop. And don’t forget to add secure-bars for each stairs, so that the rugs don’t slip around and cause spills!

Ombre Stairs

Ombre is always a trendy statement and can be found just about anywhere these days, but many have probably not considered it for a staircase. Well, think again. Painting the back panels of a staircase draws the eye upward when you start with darker shades at the bottom and get lighter as you go up. This visually lifts the gaze, opening up the space and making the room feel larger.

Stenciled Stair Risers

A strong pattern makes a major statement and can influence a room’s overall style in a positive way, but stenciling an entire wall in a geometric pattern tends to be overwhelming. However, honing that pattern on the risers of a staircase is a perfect way to show off your pattern love without overwhelming a room. You can add significant color as well, and either go for one color and pattern combination for the entire staircase or choose two combinations and go every-other step.


Wallpaper is not just for walls. We love unique decorating ideas like this one: finding a handful of different wallpapers in the same color scheme and pasting a different pattern on each step. Paint the top of the step the main neutral in the wallpaper scheme that you choose (white is ideal) so that the patterns in the wallpaper don’t become too overwhelming for your space. Make sure you choose a color scheme that coordinates with the rooms surrounding your staircase.

Have your own decorating ideas for styling your stairs? Let us know your secret tricks.


The Best Sofa for Your Design Style

Tastemaker, February 2014


When it comes to choosing large pieces of furniture for you home, it is very important to know you own one that reflects you personal design style. A solid understanding of the forms and styles you gravitate toward will help you hone in on what to look for when it comes to buying a sofa.

Not sure what your personal design style is? Use our free style finder quiz to figure it out! And once you do, it’s decorating time! If you’re looking to revamp a living room to better reflect your style, a new sofa will have the biggest impact, and you can just fill in details around the rest of the room. Check out our top sofa picks for each major design style below. (And don’t be afraid to mix and match decorating styles within your home—most people’s styles are a mixture of a few!)


If you’re a minimalist, you believe form follows function, and avoid additional ornamentation. So when it comes to a couch, you’re looking for something sleek, with modern forms. Well, we’ve found the perfect piece of furniture to fit this design style. This Ted Boerner Theater sofa features one long back cushion and sleek metal legs. It has strong, modern lines from any angle and a very contained form. Though simple, it was created for comfort as well as style, following the natural lines of the human body with a slightly reclined back, deep seat cushions, and elevated armrests for maximum relaxation.


The traditionalist looks for simple forms that don’t scrimp on comfort. This sofa from West Elm is equal parts relaxed and refined. It features comfortable, down-filled cushions, making it the perfect space for lounging and watching TV in the living room. It has an understated, traditional form that still manages to be both inviting and comfortable—its frame is very simple, almost Mid-Century, while the cushions give it the comfortable feel of a more traditional piece.


Those with a classic design style love things a bit more formal, with a mix of old-world charm and opulent accents of dark wood and leather. This Neiman Marcus leather sofa offers just that, harkening back to the formality of a chaise lounge with all the benefits of a full sofa. With deep chesterfield tufting, nailhead accents, and mahogany legs, this is a perfect piece for a formal quality in any living room or library. The rolled arms give it a classic feel, while the dipped backrest gives this sofa’s antique look a modern twist.

Hollywood Glam

Love all things opulent and glamorous? This Haute House Horton Sofa in navy velvet adds just the right amount of drama to any living room, perfectly suiting the Hollywood Glam design style. From petite nailheads on the edges and wooden turned legs to high tufted arms and curved backrest, this sofa is full of luscious details. The dramatic styling of this sofa makes it a perfect stand-alone piece for more of a statement, or simply an anchoring point for a living room of grandeur.

Mid-Century Modern

If you’re a lover of the Mid-Century Modern design style, you’re all about clean lines and a retro shape, bold colors, and wooden accents. This Room & Board sofa offers all of that and more! Its paprika color makes any living room pop, and the tapered wooden keep its profile light. And the best part? The Jasper Sofa has more cushion that a traditional Mid-Century Modern design, so comfort isn’t sacrificed for clean lines and a low profile.

Have a favorite sofa that fits your style? Let us know!


Style Your Bedding Like a Designer

Tastemaker, February 2014


Nothing makes a bedroom feel quite so polished and tidy as a freshly made bed. However, there are many different avenues you can walk down to achieve this finished look. We think that even the way you make and style your bed can say a lot about your personal design style. So, if you want to step your bed-making up another notch, use these designer tips so your bedding looks like it’s right out of a magazine spread, and reflective of your overall style!

Elegant Layers

If you like a sophisticated, layered look in your bedding, consider this: have your sheets pulled all the way up and tuck them under your mattress so there are no hanging ends. Then, pull up your comforter and smooth out the wrinkles, and fold it half-way down with a blanket layered at the bottom of the fold. Use decorative throw pillows to layer on top of the exposed sheets. You can alter this look by folding down the sheets along with the comforter for the look of extra layers. Styling your bed this way will make you think you’re staying in a hotel!

Or, fold your sheets down along with the comforter or blanket. Tip: Either way, make sure your sheets are a nice neutral so there aren’t too many competing patterns.

Relaxed sophistication

For a laid back, country chic look, keep things untucked and loose. A large quilt or comforter is a great option with this style, especially one that drapes almost to the floor. You don’t have to worry about sheets being tucked in or poking out, as they’ll be well-covered with this style. Finish off the look with a handful of throw pillows for a bed that looks effortless and comfortable, with the air of an English cottage or seaside retreat. This is my personal favorite way to make my bed. I pull everything up, smooth out the wrinkles, pop on the throw pillows, and voilà! A designer look in my bedding.

Tightly Tucked

For a modern look, tuck in everything, from sheets to comforter. This works especially well when the legs of your bed frame are designed to be exposed (no metal casters allowed) and create clean lines. With this style, keep things simple and opt for only one accent pillow. You can give this look a twist by layering a neatly folded blanket at the end of the bed for more visual interest, or by untucking the comforter and folding that at the bottom of the bed, so your sheets are exposed. If you’re doing this, make sure your sheets are neutral and tucked tightly so as to remove wrinkles. In this case, simplicity is key. While styling your bedding this way may have a Minimalist feel, it definitely takes more time and effort on a daily basis.

What’s your favorite way to style your bedding? What tips and tricks do you utilize to give your bed that designer feel?


Valentine’s Gift Ideas to Fill Your House With Love

Tastemaker, February 2014


That lovely day of hearts and chocolate and red roses is fast approaching, so it’s time to think of a sweet gift to give your darling. But what if this year, instead of surprising each other with small trifles, you surprise your love with home decor you can both enjoy? We’ve rounded up several coordinating gift ideas, both splurges and budget-conscious delights, for home decor that you’ll love for years to come. So, whether it’s his & hers, his & his, or hers & hers, we’ve got great pairs of gifts for any couple! Get ready for Valentine’s Day with this sweet home decor, and be reminded of your love for each other day in and day out.

Nesting Tables

This pair of nesting tables is a sweet reflection of any relationship. Keep one on each end of your sofa or bed, or nest them together when they’re not in use. They pair comfort with style, giving off a retro vibe with the walnut veneer and gloss yellow tops, while still sleek with black steel legs. And when they’re not in use, they tuck together; a perfect pair, just like you and your dear.

Niche London, £437.75


These Anthropologie coasters are perfect for couples who come from different coasts. And those who have a shared love of preserving wood furniture (don’t we all?). With cutouts from the east and west coasts, and even the gulf, you can discuss over drinks if the west coast is, in fact, the best coast. [Hint: It is.]

 Anthropologie, $36 (Set of 4)

Pair of lamps

Like to end your day reading in bed next to the one you love? Well then, a couple of lamps for your bedside tables may be just the thing! And who says they need to match? Like great couples, a piece of home decor should be strong and special on its own, but reach new levels when paired with the perfect match. We love the idea of choosing lamps in contrasting shapes and colors. Though very different—these two lamps pack a lot of personality into a light fixture—they coordinate with their black fabric shades, creating a cohesive and striking pair in black and gold.

EQ3, $40; Zinc Door, $756

Accent Chairs

If you’re looking for more substantial gift ideas, consider sitting chairs that reflect each of your individual personalities while managing to coordinate with one another. These two sitting chairs come in similar fabric colors, and though their shapes are quite different, one being more traditional and one more modern-ornate, the similar wooden finish and caster legs make them a cohesive, sophisticated pair that you’ll never tire of.

HD Buttercup, $1,250-$2,398

Bathroom Accessories

Sometimes, it’s ok to claim things as your own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t coordinate. Keep things straight and looking fresh with monogrammed linens in the bathroom. Splurge on some ultra-plush towels for extra decadence!

 Pottery Barn, $8-$24, additional $7 for monogramming 

Coffee Mugs

There’s no better way to start your day than sipping coffee with your love. These west elm mugs, which come in a variety of colors and textures, from cross-hatching and honeycomb to stripes and dots, are big and cozy enough for all of your favorite hot beverages. A small trinket, but when paired with artisan-roast coffee, your favorite pastries, and quality time with your loved one, this simple gift will be all that you need! As far as gift ideas go, what more could you ask for?

west elm, $32

Fun in the Kitchen

Do you love to cook together? This set of Crate & Barrel aprons is the perfect accessory for all of your kitchen adventures. They come in a variety of prints, and we especially love the fish and pig prints in cotton and linen to highlight some mealtime favorites. With so many styles available, you’ll both be able to find the apron that suits your personality.

Crate & Barrel, prices vary

What are you gifting your Valentine this year? Share your home decor gift ideas with us!


Home Essentials

Tastemaker, February 2014


There are certain items that every home should have, the basics that you shouldn’t live without. And with items you use on a daily basis, we believe it’s perfectly acceptable to splurge a little to find what you want. Because it’s the little details and luxuries that make the home. Today, we’ve put together a list of some of those home essentials that will not only make your life easier, but more beautiful, with a collection of must-haves that we love and use on a daily basis. Hint: Think neutrals. When you’re using something every day, you don’t want it to be too loud and colorful, rather, daily essentials should offer a clean backdrop against which the rest of your life can pop!

White Sheets

Though patterns and colors are nice—there’s nothing like a charming stripe or cheeky floral—crisp white sheets are an essential for any well-designed home. White sheets match anything and allow you to be more daring in your comforter or throw pillows without any major clashes. And the feeling of crawling into a bed with fresh white sheets? Well, it just can’t be beat! And don’t forget, the higher the thread count, the softer, and more luxurious these sheets will look and feel—trust us, it’s worth the splurge. As far as home essentials go, white sheets are a staple.


A proper variety of glassware is something every home should have. Though wine, champagne, and martini glasses have pretty limited uses, we recommend, for the in-between times, glasses that offer multiple functions. We love old-fashioned and juice glass sizes (13 and 10 oz., respectively), which cover a vast array of uses. The Marta line at CB2 has very clean, minimal lines in a very thin, lightweight glass, which can be dressed up for a fancy cocktail night or down for water or your morning glass of orange juice. If we could have only one type of glassware in our homes, this would certainly be the style we chose!


A classic white set of dishes is a cupboard essential. Dishes like these are super basic, but chic enough to pair with anything festive or more trendy. Since you use dishes every day, we like styles that are like a gallery wall: a clean palette that showcases your food and other dining room decor. Plus, when it comes to white dishes, you can get one cohesive set, or you can mix and match different shapes and styles for a mismatched set that still coordinates. They are the perfect base to layer on seasonal salad plates to completely change the look of your table.

Coffee Pot

Coffee. It makes the world go round. So it’s important to have coffee makers to suit your every need. Sure this isn’t part of your home’s interior design, but it’s number one on my list of home essentials. A house isn’t a home without a coffee pot. French Presses brew coffee like no other, extracting all of the delicate flavors that have been roasted into the beans. This is a perfect option for you to enjoy individually or with one other person. However, it’s also important to have a pot that’s large enough to brew up for a crowd when you’re entertaining. With both brewers, we love styles that will look sleek on your countertop, since you use them daily, and offer function without losing visual appeal. Black and chrome accents are our personal favorites because they’ll match just about every interior design.

Tea Pot

Though the art and tradition of afternoon tea is, perhaps, falling by the wayside, we still believe in the importance of having your own tea pot. You may not be serving tea to the Queen, but a staple like a teapot is perfect for brewing loose-leaf tea or serving hot beverages to a crowd after dinner, with more style than brewing individual mugs with tea bags. This elegant, modern option in porcelain can coordinate with your set of white dishes or serve as an anchor to a set of mismatched antique tea cups. This teapot, paired with fabulous tea cups, makes the perfect addition to a dining room interior design scheme. Why not pick accessories like this, that are both beautiful and useful?

No matter what your interior design style is, we believe these basics are home essentials everyone should have.


Save or Splurge: Tufted Headboards

Tastemaker, February 2014


A tufted headboard can be a beautiful anchoring point for a bedroom with timeless elegance. But, with so many different styles and price points, it can be difficult to know if you should splurge for something extra-fancy or if something thriftier will suit your needs just as well.

One of the benefits of a higher end upholstered headboard is the opportunity to customize the fabric, with deeper frames for extra comfort, and styles that go all the way to the floor for a more visually complete look—if you can see the side of your headboard when you enter your room, this is something to especially consider. However, if your bed is against a back wall with bedside tables on either side, this probably isn’t an issue, so you could save a bit with a piece that doesn’t go all the way to the floor. Something to consider when looking at a tufted headboard is that some attach to the wall, others to your bed frame—make sure what will work best in your space before making a final decision.

To help give you some direction in your search, we’ve rounded up a couple of our favorites in a variety of price points, making it easy for you to get the tufted look in your bedroom no matter your budget or style.

This Restoration Hardware beauty is a generously cushioned headboard, handcrafted with solid hardwood. There are twelve color options in fabrics in a variety of linen weaves, velvet, and army duck fabric. Not sure what color to choose? Restoration Hardware offers complimentary fabric swatches online and in-store. The classic shape and deep button tufts make this an absolutely timeless accent to any room. This headboard comes with attachments for a universal bed frame. The upholstery runs full-length, with dark tobacco finish on the feet.

Pottery Barn’s Chesterfield upholstered headboard features a distinctive scroll at the top, with decorative nail-heads along each side of this 7-inch deep headboard. This American-made headboard has deep button tufts and a kiln-dried hardwood frame. Fabric choices range from tweed, canvas, and linen to velvet, suede, and awning stripe, with a variety of colors in each fabric choice, totaling to over 75 customizable options. The headboard runs full-length, with espresso finished block feet. With all of these details, it lends an air of decadence to your bedroom. A stunning side view, this splurge is worth it if you can see the profile when you enter your bedroom.

This tufted headboard from West Elm offers not only extra height, but extra comfort. This design forgoes buttons, but rather gets its tufted shape from geometric detailing, so that you never feel uncomfortable when sitting up in bed. It was made for late-night reading and early-morning coffee-sipping! Fully upholstered to the floor, this style offers more than 65 customizable fabric and color options, with a variety of linens and weaves, as well as velvet and heathered wool. Its dramatic height makes a modern statement in any room and it attaches to any bed frame.

The Samuel Lawrence upholstered headboard has a rounded top for a touch more feminine elegance than its rectangular counterparts. The fabric is a soft poly blend, and though it only comes in one color option, the taupe fabric is the perfect neutral to fit into any environment. The upholstery on this headboard stops at bed height, with wooden legs reaching the floor which attach to any traditional bed frame, with included hardware. This frame doesn’t offer customization options, but the low price point makes off-the-shelf look good!

So you’re ready to snag a new headboard? First here’s a tip: before you buy, tape off the size of the headboard on your wall so you can visualize how it will fit in the space!


These articles originally appeared on, an interior design website based in San Francisco, created to pinpoint personal design styles and connect top-notch interior decorators with people looking for design and decorating assistance. Unfortunately, they are no longer in operation, and as a result their blog is no longer available. However, you can visit their Facebook page here to see what they were all about.