Category Archives: How-To

How to Design a Classic Outdoor Living Space

Decorating, How-To | | | 6 Replies

Designing an outdoor living space isn’t that much different from designing one indoors — everyone has their own style and vision. If your home feels more Cape Cod than Morocco, you might want to bring the same classic, traditional style outdoors.

Read on for our top 5 tips to designing a classic, outdoor living space.

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Above: PB Classic Adirondack Painted Chair

Consistent finishes. Pick a timeless, classic material and finish and keep it consistent throughout your space. Classic and traditional style doesn’t necessarily mean everything has to match, but doing so will give your outdoor living space a fresh, pulled together feel.

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Above: Larkspur Teak Sectional

Crisp color palette. Pastels are perfect for spring, but in the summer, you’ll want to look towards bright, deep colors that can stand up to the wear and tear of outdoor activities. Navy blue and firehouse red combined with jute and linen will stay strong all summer and never go out of style.

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Above: Larkspur Teak Steamer Chaise

Comfort is key. Classic and traditional outdoor spaces never skimp on comfort. These spaces are all about entertaining, and you want your guests to feel right at home. Stock up on soft cushions to plop down on, outdoor rugs to keep bare feet cool and plenty of pillows for mid-day naps.

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Above: Larkspur Teak Bar Cart

All the right accessories. Outdoor living accessories should combine style and function seamlessly. Lanterns can add a pop of color when needed, but they also provide a soothing summer glow at night. Galvanized buckets and bins bring rustic flair, but can also hold drinks when filled with ice.

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Above: Larkspur Teak Dining Table and Chair Set

Simple materials. Above all else, summer outdoor living is about simplicity — just enjoying the great outdoors with friends and family. Your furniture materials should reflect that. Choose sturdy but simple materials, like teak and wicker, which will stay in style for many summers to come.

You might also like: Bring the Indoors Out! 5 Tips to Designing Your Outdoor Living Space

How to Choose a Kitchen Table: Interview with Susan Serra

Decorating, How-To | | | 2 Replies

Today, the kitchen isn’t just about cooking — it’s where we spend the majority of our time at home. We work, eat, play games and even watch TV in our kitchens. And today’s kitchen designs reflect this lifestyle — particularly when it comes to the kitchen table. “There’s been a strong trend toward open plan living, which means that ‘real’ living room furniture, accessories, lighting and artwork are moving into the kitchen,” says Susan Serra, CKD, President of Susan Serra Associates, Inc. Bringing furniture into your kitchen allows the space to flow seamlessly with the rest of your house.

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But how do you choose the right kitchen table? Do you need one if you already have an island? Read on for Serra’s professional tips to help you find the kitchen table that’s just right for your home.

Table or Island?

Even if you have a small kitchen, you can often put both an island and a table in the room if your layout allows. “Consider putting a table up against the back of an island, whether it’s a small table for two or a large table for eight,” says Serra. “It’s a custom look that saves space, looks great and functions well.”

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Impossible to fit both in your space? Think about which option will be more flexible in the long run. “Which one will allow you to do more with the space, other than dining? I.e., projects, prep, etc.,” says Serra.

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Size

What will your table or island’s purpose be?  Will you be entertaining? Working? Prepping for dinner? Also, consider how many people you want to sit comfortably at the table. If you have a dining room, you can probably afford a smaller table, but if you plan on serving most dinners in the kitchen you’ll need some extra seating.

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Space

During the kitchen design process, it’s easy to overlook the amount of space needed for a proper kitchen table. “The focus is usually placed on the kitchen work area and the dining area is often an afterthought,” says Serra. “In existing kitchens, when replacing a table, it’s a great time to reassess lifestyle issues as well as how much space you want surrounding the tables and chairs.” 

Are you on the hunt for a new kitchen table?  We may have just what you need.

Inspired by Color: 5 Easy Ways to Update Your Home with Color

Decorating, How-To | | | 2 Replies

It’s easy to fall in love with all whites or neutrals, but when the weather turns warm, it’s worth taking a risk with bold and bright colors that reflect the season. Don’t worry — it’s easier than it looks! Read on to learn our top five tips to bringing color into your home.

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Bedding: Since bedrooms are more private rooms than living rooms or dining rooms, it’s a little easier to take design risks without messing up the color scheme of an open floor plan. Try changing your bedding with the changing of the seasons! Fresh patterns, light fabrics and bright colors will give your bedroom a summery feel.

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Pillows: Throw pillows are an easy, affordable way to instantly update your decor. Change things up for summer and choose a single accent color (Or more, if you’re feeling daring!) in different patterns to spice up your living room, bedroom, outdoor living space and more.

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Art: Choosing art is harder than it looks. We know! Wall space is critical real estate in any home, and you want to make the right decision. But that doesn’t mean you have to play it safe — colorful, geometric patterns in classic frames can add an unexpected element to traditional and modern interiors.

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Dishes and glassware: Give your entertaining a seasonal boost and switch out your white dishes for something a little more festive. Turquoise, bright yellow and bold coral are surprisingly flexible colors that work well at any summer dinner party.

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Rugs: Don’t be afraid of using color on the floor! Brightly hued rugs help more neutral furniture stand out. Coordinate with the other textiles in the room, or mix and match patterns and colors for extra visual interest.

Tell us: How do you like to use color in your home?

 

 

Calculated Space: How to Set Up Your Home Office

Decorating, How-To | | | 2 Replies

Shane Inman is an Interior Designer in New York City. Today, he’s sharing 5 simple tips to help you set up the perfect office work space.

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From dormitory to home office to corporate office, learn how to set up your work space for optimum success. Whether you work in a Fortune 500 headquarters or are spending your work hours in a college dorm room, the space where you choose to secure your future may be helping you or hindering you. Follow these five steps to transform any inefficient work space into a your own powerhouse of creativity and motivation.

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Location, location, location. The real estate that you choose to do all of your work is of the utmost importance. From a corner office to a spare closet, it needs to be all yours and off limits to the rest of the world. The most successful work environments are those where you can shut the door to avoid life’s interruptions. Place your desk in front of a window, if you are lucky enough to have one – the vitamin D will enhance your concentration and mood.

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Work on it. No matter if you have a traditional desk or stacked milk crates with a plywood top, you need to have an uncluttered work surface large enough to spread out easily, in order to enable you to work on a multitude of projects simultaneously.

Light it up. Task lighting and general lighting are both important when utilizing your work space. A freestanding lamp placed on your desk will assist you with reading, while overhead lighting will illuminate the entire space.

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Organization on every level. Everything needs to be impeccably organized, from the top of your desk to your filing cabinet. Any time you have to spend time searching for something is time away from what you really need to be doing.

Superior surroundings. Your office should be all your own. Decorate and design your environment with items that inspire and motivate you personally. Live plants release oxygen that is good for the body, and pictures of loved ones will remind you of why you are doing all of this in the first place.

Don’t underestimate your home office needs! Whether we are an ambitious college student or a chief executive officer, we all require our own calculated work space to thrive in our tasks.

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7 Ways to Decorate with White

Decorating, How-To | | | 5 Replies

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All white interiors usually bring two thoughts to mind: constant cleaning, or super boring. But the fact is, white interiors are anything but bland when done right. Like any other color, there are plenty of variations of white: warm whites, cool whites, blue whites, purple whites and more. Playing off of different hues and textures of whites can make any space interesting.

Keep reading for our top tips to decorating with white in your home!

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Soften your space. Warm whites can make a room feel soft and cozy. Look for whites with red, pink, orange or brown undertones.

Keep it crisp. Cool, bright whites make rooms feel fresh, crisp and modern. But be careful! Too many cool whites can start to feel clinical and cold.

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Add texture and layers. This works especially well in bedrooms. Mix and match different linens, quilts and cushions in all white.

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Don’t be afraid of white. It’s not as scary to clean as you might think! Washable paints, indoor/outdoor fabrics and washable slip covers can make things easy to clean. As designer Jeffrey Alan Marks said during our Facebook Chat, “I think that’s why bleach was invented!”

Go for contrast. Sometimes white is its most powerful when paired with a contrasting hue. Try pairing warm whites with cooler colors (like the blue and warm whites in the photo below) and cooler whites with warmer colors.

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Avoid things that feel too precious. The fragile feel of some white interiors can be intimidating. Instead, aim for linen slipcovers and cotton pillows paired with a jute rug and distressed finishes. Let your whites feel comfortable and cozy.

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Use white for cohesion. A few white elements can instantly refresh a space and make it feel cohesive. Use white frames to tie together a gallery wall, a white nightstand to match your new headboard, or white cabinets to create flow between your living room and white woodwork in the hallway.

Get more design inspiration at our Design Studio.

8 Ways to Upgrade Your Bedroom

Decorating, How-To | | | 4 Replies

Shane Inman is an Interior Designer in New York City. Today, he’s sharing the 8 things you can use to help you upgrade your bedroom’s style.

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1. Padded Headboard
A padded headboard adds additional fabric to your bed, so you can tie in more texture and color with your surrounding bedroom fabrics. A wooden headboard tells a story of heirloom quality, whereas a padded headboard brings a sophisticated, boutique-hotel element to your room.

2. Window Treatments
Bare windows can look great in the right setting, but windows covered in fabric soften up a room and tone down harsh sunlight to create ambiance.

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3. Chandelier
Whether you’re designing a bachelor pad or a feminine boudoir, replace your existing surface-mounted fixture with a chandelier and watch your bedroom go from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s easy, and can be affordable, too.

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4. Throw Pillows
The more throw pillows you have on your bed, the more inviting it appears. Designers love to use pillows because they’re an easy way to add color and texture. Forms should be in every shape, from square to round, and in all varieties of sizes to add volume to the bed, which otherwise can appear very flat. Add a bolster for that extra je ne sais quoi.

5. Painted Ceilings
The traditional white ceiling is great for reflecting light down onto the room, but for a more sophisticated approach, paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. Not only will this trick change the mood of your bedroom for the better, it will also make it appear larger when ceiling and shadow lines disappear.

6. Crown Moldings
It’s all in the details! Adding a 6-inch border of crown molding at the top of your walls will make your bedroom appear more elegant. Moldings act like a frame on a work of art.

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7. Floor Covering
A fabulous floor of plush wall-to-wall carpet with a good quality pad will set the tone of unwavering standards. Should you choose classic hardwood floors instead, you will want to purchase a good area rug to further define the space.

8. Seating
Any great bedroom also includes comfortable seating. If your bedroom is too small to accommodate a quintessential Hollywood-style chaise lounge, try a simple upholstered chair or ottoman in a corner.

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10 Expert Designer Tips from Jeffrey Alan Marks

Decorating, How-To | | | 3 Replies

Jeffrey Alan Marks is no stranger to design dilemmas. One of Hollywood’s “most wanted decorators” and a frequent star of Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Decorators,” Marks is familiar with virtually every problem — big or small — that can arise in interior design. That’s why we asked him to share his expertise during a Facebook chat with our fans. Take a look at his top 10 tips from the chat, below!

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Photo from Jeffrey Alan Marks, Inc.

1. Look for easy ways to update your bedroom: “Use throw pillows and new sheets. I love all the Pottery Barn sheets, especially the summer sheets this season —they’re amazing. And if you can’t afford all new sheets, just buy the pillowcases.”

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2. Be playful and surprising: “I always throw in an unexpected element in the room. There’s always a color that’s a little bit shocking that gives a room a little personality. Things that are too matchy can feel like a model home. Every room should have a happy accident. “

3. Don’t be afraid of a white sofa: “I use a lot of slipcovers. Often white can be the easiest fabric with kids — I think that’s why bleach was invented! A little bit in the water when you’re washing the slipcover will help. And you can wash a slipcover over and over again.”

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4. Use new hardware in rental kitchens and bathrooms: “I’ve lived in rentals where hardware can transform the entire space.  I love Pottery Barn’s Ella Hardware and I also love the Modern Sink Console hardware from Pottery Barn. It would fit in with any house!”

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5. Consider sofas without skirts: “The PB Comfort Square Upholstered Box Edge Cushion Sofa doesn’t have a skirt, which is nice, since that can cause problems with dogs and kids. Something with its feet off the ground makes the room look bigger too, so you’re killing two birds with one stone. “

6. Grays go best with cooler colors: “A soft pink and a dark gray is beautiful because it mixes the masculine and feminine. I also like grays and blues and gray and coral.  I stay away from warm tans and reds with gray, I tend to like cooler colors with gray.“

7. Don’t use too much gray: “I also think you need to use gray sparingly. For example if I use a lot of gray on the wall, I won’t use a lot in decorating. But if I use a lot in the decor, I’ll use a light pink or blue on the wall. “

8. Keep family photos in private spaces: “I tend to frame family photos down private hallways to the bedroom. I like to do a collection from floor to ceiling of all the family and friends photos. I think it’s a nice way to honor memories, but it’s not right in your face in the living room.”

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9. Two is better than one: “In long hallways and entries, use two long runners with a break in the middle. A pair of anything is always better! It will draw you down the hallway — one runner will just stop you.”

10. Use paint to make a room feel cozy: “Use a Sherwin Williams color from the Pottery Barn palette and paint low ceilings. When you have a ceiling that low, I find that painting it is the best way to go to add intimacy.”

Don’t forget to read Marks’ new book, The Meaning of Home. And if you’re in the Orange County Area, be sure to visit him at our South Coast Plaza store for an in-person book signing at 2PM on May 10th, 2014.