Grown-ups longing for playhouses of their own have started transforming utilitarian garden sheds into delightful hideaways that serve as offices, craft rooms, dining spaces, guesthouses, and even reading retreats. Here are a few of our favorites from the recent designer exhibition at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Inside this whimsical shed by designer Michael Devine is a luxurious miniature office. Decorated with pink accents, an upholstered side chair, and a candelabra on the desk - for working late into the night - elegance has been brought to the outdoors.
See More: 20 Fun Finds from the Hardware Store
With exterior stripes elongating the shed's frame, and ample windows that let in lots of light, this bedroom design by Pine Cone Hill's Annie Selke is a cozy escape.
Related: The Best Outdoor Room Designs
You'd never know a salon-style room is behind the closed doors of this bold, red-painted shed by designer Sarah Thorne and furniture maker Peter
Blog Posts by House Beautiful Magazine
Grown-ups longing for playhouses of their own have started transforming utilitarian garden sheds into delightful hideaways that serve as offices, craft rooms, dining spaces, guesthouses, and even reading retreats. Here are a few of our favorites from the recent designer exhibition at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.Read More »from Unbelievable Garden Sheds You Won't Believe
From slipcovers to stripes, these fast and easy makeover ideas refresh any room in a flash.Read More »from 6 Quick Decorating Changes
1. Try Reversible Pillows
Double-sided pillows are a quick and easy change. "You have your summer pattern, then flip them to the other side, to velvet - something richer - for winter," says designer Jesse Carrier. He and his wife, designer Mara Miller, chose them for the sofas in the living room of this 19th-century farmhouse in upstate New York. You can also try doing a combination of both, as they did here.
See more: 6 Living Rooms We Love
2. Sew Handkerchief-Style Curtains
For a relaxed, breezy look, try making curtains similar to the ones that Carrier and Miller created for this dining room. Hang pre-hemmed shawls, tablecloths, or even pillowcases on hooks from one corner of the window. Or recycle old curtains: Simply measure and cut them into squares, adding buttonholes in the corners. "Just take one of the corners off, and it drops," Miller explains.
See More: 101 Pretty Plates
Tired of the same old kitchen, but don't want the hassle (or price tag) of an entire renovation? These fast and easy updates take the room from make-do to magnificent.Read More »from 10 Ways to Make Your Old Kitchen New Again
1. Add Table Lamps
Put table lamps on your island or dining table to make your kitchen feel like a room, not a laboratory, like designer Robert Stillin did with Visual Comfort's Column lamp in Sheffield silver for House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year with Ina Garten.
See More: At Home with Chef Tyler Florence
2. Try a New Gadget
You don't have to invest in brand-new appliances like an industrial stove. Instead, become inspired to cook a new dish, or just have more fun cooking a family favorite, with a fun, functional gadget, like a citrus juicer. We like this one from Cuisipro.com.
Related: 101 Pretty Plates
3. Suspend Pots and Pans
Instead of investing in brand-new cabinetry, try working with what you have. You can free up space by suspending your pots and pans from the ceiling. A pot rack adds style, makes
From a bright and bold ceiling to a fabric-covered lampshade, these little changes bring a lot of cheer to your kitchen.
1. Paint the Floor
To add a little energy in this Dallas kitchen, designer Shannon Bower had the floor hand-painted on the diagonal. A vintage tole chandelier from Mexico hangs over the chunky breakfast table.
See More: Bethenny Frankel's Grown-Up Baby Shower
2. Curtain Just One Cabinet
To shake things up, try adding a curtain to just one cabinet. "Cabinet after cabinet, door after door gets boring," says Shannon Bower, who added Carleton V's Wallace ticking in Green and Natural to this pair.
See More: Beautiful Designer Kitchens
3. Cover a Lampshade with Fabric
For a quick update, cover a lampshade with fabric, like Jonathan Adler did in fashion designer Liz Lange's Westchester home. He chose Alan Campbell's Potalla in Jungle Green for the Trans.Luxe pendant light, and also created cushions for the Norman Cherner counter stools.
4.Read More »from 9 Colorful Ways to Cheer Up Your Kitchen
- House Beautiful Magazine | Work + Money – Tue, Jul 5, 2011 4:50 PM EDT
Not since Rosie, the Jetsons' maid, have robots been so helpful around the house - or so cute!Read More »from 8 Cool Robot Vacuums (That Do the Cleaning for You!)
1. Roomba 780
The gold standard in automated vacuums. Has both optical and acoustic sensors to seek out and concentrate cleaning power on the dirtiest areas. Includes a built-in HEPA filter. $600. irobot.com.
Related: Home Tech Products We Can't Live Without
Two cameras, plus ultrasound and infrared technology, help it navigate and thoroughly vacuum without bumping into furniture. The low profile (just over 3/12") can go under cabinets for great edge-to-edge cleaning. It auto-docks and recharges, too. Available late 2011. lg.com.
Related: Editors' Favorite Home Decor Buys
3. Scooba 230
This floor scrubber employs a three-stage process to clean and kill germs. It's compact, too (6 1/2" wide), so it can get into hard-to-reach spaces (like behind the toilet). You do have to sweep first, though. $300. irobot.com.
Related: Checklist: What Every House Needs
Uses its own
From striped floors in the living room to open shelves in the kitchen, designers share their best tricks for tiny rooms.Read More »from 10 Big Solutions for Small Spaces
1. Mix Low and Tall Furniture
In any small space, it's important to not feel boxed in. In this Chicago apartment by architectural consultants Richard Bories and James Shearron, a low credenza is a smart substitute for the obligatory tall bookshelf, which would have closed off the space. "It's very effective to keep things low and punctuate with verticals here and there," says Shearron.
Related: Brilliant Tips for a Tiny Kitchen
2. Dare to be Dramatic
Small spaces are perfect for bold decorating because they require less time, money, and materials. "In small, modern apartments you have to create dramatic moments that offset the lack of detail - but don't hog the space," says Shearron, who helped chose Benjamin Moore Bright Yellow paint for the apartment's front door. "Bold, graphic gestures like that look cool in small spaces," he explains.
3. Choose Side Chairs
Need advice on making the most of tight quarters? Who better to ask than Apartment Therapy founder Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan? He shares solutions from the site's Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces.
1. Edit, Edit, Edit You've got to leave some breathing room. Emptiness allows the eye to travel someplace and rest. Every space will feel bigger if you leave some things out.
2. Hang Curtains Take the doors off doorways and closets and replace them with a curtain. Doors are a huge impediment to flow, and they take up space when they're open.
See more: 20 Decorating Secrets3. Arrange Closets Carefully Well-organized closets are essential. And if there's no lighting in there already, always install it-a closet is only 50 percent useful if you can't see in it.
4. Let There Be Light Have at least three points of light at eye level in each room-and turn them on! By giving your eyes multiple focus points, lamps help expand a room visually, creating the illusion of more depth and space.
5. Use Read More »from 10 Tips for Small Spaces
From a paper lantern canopy to how to make grocery store flowers look chic, these affordable ideas are perfect for summertime soirées.Read More »from 4 Easy Outdoor Entertaining Ideas
1. Layout Your Fine China
Grab some pretty porcelain pieces and bring them outdoors for a sophisticated alfresco tea party, suggests designer Rachel Ashwell. Stacking the plates makes for easy family-style dining with any number of guests. Plus, using what's already in your china cabinet, rather than paper plates, is good for both the wallet and the earth.
Related: Spring Gardens You'll Love
2. Rethink Grocery Store Flowers
Buy a big bouquet of flowers from the grocery store and break it down into smaller arrangements. Then place large blooms into teacups and put out as table settings, like designer Joe Nye did. (Pick up vintage cups at a flea market, and your guests can even take them home as favors!)
Related: A Confident and Colorful L.A. Home
3. Crank Up the Color
Borrow an idea from Judi Roaman of the accessorator.com for sunny festive table
This San Francisco Victorian home, designed by Ken Fulk, has tradition, modern and unexpected elements in every room. Fulk brings out the playful side of this house with whimsical touches and unusual elements that could be repeated in your home, too.Read More »from Unusual Decorating Ideas
1. Add Height with Plants
Placing the tall leafy tree in the bay window is a great use of space. Put a floor plant in a great pot and move it to a ledge or table to create volume and height, if you have a tall ceiling.
See more: 20 Decorating Secrets
2. Join Two Tables Together
Don't fret is you find the perfect table and it's not long enough. Simply join two matching tables together. It's an unusual idea, but works seamlessly in the room. "The polished nickel bases add just the right amount of glamour," says Fulk. Top it off with small colorful bouquets to unify the tables.
See more: Expert Kitchen Tips and Ideas
3. Boldly Recarpet the Stairs
The zebra print carpeted stairs liven up the black and white theme without overdoing it. It's
Designer Lindsay Reid lets us peek into her California cottage, warmly decorated in soft hues and lively patterns and prints. Here are a few easy ideas that you can steal for your home, too.Read More »from 5 Ways to Make Your Home More Romantic
1. Decorate with Potted Plants in Lieu of Fresh Flowers
You don't always have to set up a table with fresh cut flowers. A potted plant, like lavender, will last much longer. Plus, it fills the air with a fragrant scent. Of her own patio, Reid says, "It's inspired by all the beachy towns in the Mediterranean, where alfresco dining is a way of life. I love the little bistros and homes with wild, rambling gardens and haphazardly set up tables and iron chairs. The whole setting is carefree and thoughtful at the same time."
Related: Brilliant Ideas for a Tiny Kitchen
2. Try Wicker Furniture Indoors
Using a material associated with the outdoors helps soften a space. The wicker furniture gives the room a casual vibe and coordinates well with the bamboo print of the cushions. The room is sophisticated,