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Stylish Houseplants for a Happier Home

Houseplants are having a serious design moment and with good reason! Living plants help purify the air, add personality to your abode, and can even make your space look bigger. Inspiration and tips for curating your own personal houseplant collection are ahead.

Old Brand New
Old Brand New

Plants add oxygen to the air and increase our connection with nature, making them a great choice for the home office. To keep your actual desk clear, position potted plants on floating shelves above and around your work area as shown here. A setup like this is surprisingly budget-friendly to put together because you can use itty bitty plants — and those are much cheaper than the big guys. Intersperse a few shiny objects, like a glass terrarium and a metallic vase, to make the whole arrangement pop.

Plant Style FP via Decor8
Plant Style
by Alana Langan and Jacqui Vidal via Decor8

Have an unused fireplace? Fill it with plants! Play up texture by selecting pots in a range of materials, from woven baskets to hand-thrown ceramics. And don’t forget to position a few small potted plants on the mantle — trailing varieties work especially well here.

Jungalow-zebra-plant
Jungalow

One of the best parts of bringing in more houseplants is choosing cute planters to put them in. Scoop up anything that catches your eye, from handmade Etsy finds to vintage pots at yard sales. Pots and planters with faces on them make a fun addition — tuck one in among your plain pots to perk things up. And don’t be afraid to buy the pots before you have plants to put in them. You can always swing by a nursery (or even Trader Joe’s) to buy a plant, but if you bring a plant home and don’t have a pot, that’s a problem!

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Architectural Digest

To make your plants into a focal point, take a cue from this space and paint a dramatic backdrop to play up the greenery. Bold, rich colors really sing in a plant-filled space, so consider deep green, turquoise, or even black. Give your plants some height by using wall-mounted and hanging planters, and setting a few pots on tables and pedestals, or lined up on bookshelves.

Plant Styling Book via Decor8
Plant Style
by Alana Langan and Jacqui Vidal via Decor8

If you have trouble remembering to water your plants, set an alarm on your phone to help you out. And to keep your plants really happy, take a few extra minutes each time you water to dust large leaves with a rag and trim back any overgrown bits with sharp scissors. Once you start adding plants to your home, I think you’ll find that they are the finishing touch you didn’t even realize you were missing.

Botanical Rugs

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Oriental Weavers Tommy Bahama Atrium in green and ivory; Kaleen Sea Isle in green; Liora Manne Capri Palm Leaf in blue; KAS Catalina Island Breeze in green and blue.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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Blissful Blue Decor

Domino

If you’re looking for a color trend that’s stood the test of time and then some, look no further than blue. From indigo to periwinkle this hue has never shown a sign of slowing down in popularity and it’s easy to see why. Not only is blue considered the most relaxing color on the spectrum, it also has the ability to ground a space and is a great way for colorphobes to experiment. A piece of art or furniture is a great way to introduce something fresh into your decor because both are fairly non-committal and can be resold if you end up unhappy.

This take on everyone’s favorite tile, subway, gives the standby new life in a soft baby blue. The pastel hue manages to work in both a classic decor scheme as well as modern thanks to the subtle gradient present in the patterning. Can’t you just imagine wanting to cook so many meals in this kitchen because it looks so relaxing and welcoming?

I’d definitely use those baby blue subway tiles in a bathroom as well, but these square patterned ones offer so much when paired with the stark white vanity and accompanying shower tiles. This is definitely a situation of using pattern as art – there’s no way you’d want to cover up or bring in anything that might want to compete with these beautifully intricate pieces.

Smoky blue is such an unexpected hue for the kitchen, and that’s the biggest reason I’m loving it. By using such a soft accent color to all of the natural tones in this space, the designer managed to show off the warmth present in the woodgrain and bricks as well as the brightness of all that white. One of my favorite unexpected touches is the blue on that island facade!

If you’re all in on blue, this space has your name on it. Walls, ceiling, doors, mouldings – all the same, gorgeous shade of the most perfect blue. It feels like a slightly softer take on the currently popular all-black room, offering a sense of depth and sophistication that’s magnetic. If you’re looking to diversify and add something relaxing and blue to your space, another fantastic way is to bring in a floor rug like the ones below.

Blue Rugs

For more inspiration from Kelly, follow along with her at Design Crush!

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Design Tips for Renting Out Your Space

Whether you’re planning to rent out your space while you travel, or are thinking of turning that spare room or backyard cottage into an Airbnb, there is a lot to consider before you put up your listing. From taking great photos to designing with guests in mind, here are a few foolproof tips for making your space stand out.

Airbnb

Assess what your place has going for it. Do you live near the beach, a great farmer’s market, or a cool bike path? Play up your neighborhood’s features in the decor by choosing local art or photography for the walls, and a color scheme that reflects your unique location. In the Southern California Airbnb shown above, the owners chose a poolside photo print, trendy blue animal print rug, and sleek, modern furniture for a sunny LA look.

Take great photos. When you’re ready to photograph your space, choose a sunny day and take pictures of each room when natural light is at its best. Open up window treatments wide, turn on the lights, and check to make your you’ve cleared any personal items out of the shot. Straight-on shots (like the one above) tend to look better than photos shot at an angle — if you have a tripod, set your camera on it and adjust the position until it looks just right. Then, click away!

Design Tip: One big framed photo makes a bigger impact than a salon-style gallery wall of smaller pieces … and it costs less, too!

Airbnb3

Declutter. Before welcoming visitors into your home, you’ll need to pare back your personal items and excess belongings so that your space feels fresh and inviting. Useful items like basic cookware and dishes should stay. But the family pictures, plastic cups, and laundry baskets full of clothes have got to go. In the kitchen, any items left out should be functional, beautiful, or both.

Protect your valuables. It can help to dedicate one lockable closet or storage area for storing your personal items and valuables before you open up your home to short-term renters. Of course, you may get so used to enjoying your space without all of that extra clutter that you decide to get rid of it for good!

Design Tip: Splurge on a set of handmade mugs from Etsy or a local shop, plus a French press or pour-over coffee maker. These little items won’t set you back too much, and they look great in photos advertising your rental!

Airbnb2

Go for budget-friendly decor. Presenting a space that’s really clean and clutter-free is way more important than spending a lot on decor. In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that occasionally guests may damage some of your belongings — so choosing budget-friendly pieces that you can replace as needed is a smart move. Floors especially can get a lot of wear-and-tear, so roll up the fancy rugs and opt for a simple natural fiber or flat-woven cotton instead.

Design Tip: Plants make any space look more complete. Potted cacti and succulents are ideal for a short-term rental, because they are easy to care for, and look hip. Cluster a few tiny pots on the coffee table, and put one bigger plant in a sunny window.

Pamper Guests

Pamper guests with little luxuries. So often, it’s the little things that leave the biggest impression. Leave guests with little treats in each room — fresh flowers on the kitchen table, fluffy white towels in the bathroom, a tray of snacks and magazines in the bedroom. And be sure to include a home reference binder, too. This essential should include any need-to-know info about your space (like the wifi password), plus local maps and phone numbers.

Design Tip: A tray makes anything look more special! Use one to corral small items like snacks, spare toiletries, or coffee-making items.

Rugs for Airbnb

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Loloi Rugs Justina Blakeney Kahelo in black and ivory; Safavieh Kilim in navy; Momeni Laguna in black; Safavieh Kilim in blue and purple.

Photo Credits: Airbnb

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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Stripes Forever: 4th of July Decor

With the Fourth of July falling mid-week this year, let’s take this chance to hit pause on our busy lives and savor the little things that make life sweet — like iced coffee on the porch, fireworks on a summer night, and the always-stylish power of stripes.

Design Sponge
Erin Napier for Design Sponge

With a centennial American flag framed on the wall and an antique armchair reupholstered using striped French grain sacks, this home really knows how to put stripes to work!

Aerin Lauder
Aerin Lauder via Habitually Chic

Barker and Stonehouse
Barker and Stonehouse

Love Breton striped tops? Bring the classic blue-and-white stripes into your home with chic striped wallpaper and a geometric striped rug in the bedroom. With this many stripes going on in one room it helps to keep everything else soft and neutral, so go with white or natural wood floors, a linen-upholstered bed, and crisp white sheets.

Domino2

Domino
Domino

If you want a bolder look, go for wide stripes. In the space shown here, a shade sail with wide black and white stripes is suspended from the ceiling for a dramatic look.

Domino3
Domino

Iittalla via Apartment Therapy
Iittala via Apartment Therapy

For a look as comfy as slipping on your favorite tee shirt, pop striped pillowcases over plush pillow inserts and line them up on your couch.

Whether you like your stripes wide or narrow, classic blue, chic black, or neutral, one super easy way to bring stripes home is with a fresh new rug. Striped rugs go with any style, and are just as easy to work with as a solid, but so much more interesting — check out four of my current favorites below. Happy Fourth, and happy decorating!

Striped Rugs
Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Capel Nags Head Vertical Stripe Rectangles in blue; Liora Manne Sorrento Rugby Stripe in black; Liora Manne Sorrento Pinstripe in navy; Safavieh Cape Cod in natural and black.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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