Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine

  • 15 Favorite Color Palettes

    We unlock the secrets to gorgeous color and paint palettes that work for any room in your home. (Not sure where to start? How about using your favorite color?)

    Red roomRed room
    Just add red

    The showstopper: One wall of poppy red wallpaper is all it takes to bring life and energy to this dining nook. Red is strong enough that patterns work better than solids. The lantern, pillows, and art pick up on the hue in delicate ways.

    The tamer: A complementary wall of greige (a mix of gray and beige resulting in a warm, muddy tone) grounds the red and acts as a neutral without being recessive.

    The accent: Cushions in shaded seaglass green are a cool complement to the red and share tonal value with the greige.

    More on adding passion to your palette with shades of red

    Yellow equals modern

    The canvas: A cool white forms the background in this dramatic palette. Paint furniture pieces the same color as the wall to help them fade and make a space look bigger.

    The pop: Bright yellow is like a vitamin C shot

    Read More »from 15 Favorite Color Palettes
  • 15 Easy Gardening Tips & Projects

    Discover quick fixes and easy, manageable projects to transform your garden.

    Scatter the seeds evenlyScatter the seeds evenly
    Sow seeds in the garden

    Some annuals and vegetables grow best if the seeds are sowed where the plants will be grown in the garden.

    Sow seeds in rows. Use a trowel or the corner of a hoe to dig a furrow to the correct depth (check seed packets for depth and spacing recommendations). Sow the seeds evenly, and pat the soil gently over them. To make straight rows, stretch a string between two stakes, and plant beneath it. Or lay a board on the soil's surface and then plant along its edge.

    Make a mound. Group plants in a cluster on a low mound of soil, rather than in rows. This is a traditional way to grow sprawling plants such as squash and melons. Sow five or six seeds in a circle, and pat soil over them.

    Broadcast seeds. Sowing wide bands of vegetables across a bed is more space efficient than row-planting for smaller crops such as lettuce, carrots, radishes, or mesclun. Scatter the seeds evenly over the soil. Read More »from 15 Easy Gardening Tips & Projects
  • Top 15 Beach Hotels

    Don't end summer without sneaking off to the coast--even if it's just for the weekend. Here are our favorite hotels by the sea.

    Sheraton WaikikiSheraton Waikiki

    Ride the bunny waves at Waikiki
    Maybe you think you're not a Waikiki person. Maybe you think you prefer something a bit more secluded and exclusive. But consider this: With its warm water, dependably gentle waves, and novice-nurturing surf schools, Waikiki Beach remains the most forgiving place in the world to learn to surf or steer an outrigger canoe.

    The Sheraton Waikiki stands midway along the 2-mile-long beach, and while its high-rise architecture shouts 1970s, a $187 million renovation has given it 21st-century polish. And those Waikiki waves are timelessly perfect. From $225; 800/325-3535.

    La Jolla Shores HotelLa Jolla Shores Hotel
    La Jolla, CA

    Give the stand-up craze a try
    Anyone ready to try stand-up paddleboarding can get a thorough intro at Surf Diva's three-day SUP & Yoga Getaway. Both sports are all about core strength, balance, and flexibility, making them a natural

    Read More »from Top 15 Beach Hotels
  • Top 10 Iconic Western Homes

    We dug into our archives to find historic, iconic homes and moments in Western design we had to share.

    A great roomA great room
    Open-plan living begins
    We take the "great room"--a no-barriers room with the kitchen, dining, and living room all within four walls--for granted now, but when we featured it in 1955, the "studio room" was a revolutionary concept. As our lives became more suburban and more casual, the walls separating spaces to prep meals, eat, entertain, and relax came down.

    Thick walls kept the interiors comfortableThick walls kept the interiors comfortable
    Solar adobes in New Mexico

    Architects in the 1970s re-embraced the adobe, the ancient building material long used to help temper the sun's heat in the southwest and Mexico. When we featured it in 1978, we noted the thick walls kept the interiors at a comfortable 70 degrees, regardless of the temperature outdoors.

    Finding room for technologyFinding room for technology
    The home office arrives

    It's the early '90s and the personal computer is just beginning to land on the desks of forward-thinking innovators--including many of our readers. This 1993 home office marks the

    Read More »from Top 10 Iconic Western Homes
  • How to Create a Sea-creature Succulent Garden

    Boldly colored. Drought-tolerant. With the wonderful world of succulents, you can mimic an underwater look with plants.

    The faux ocean merges with the real oneThe faux ocean merges with the real one
    Create a land-sea connection

    Succulents are terra firma's answer to sea creatures, as jewel-toned as shells, sculptural as seastars, or fluttery as sea anemones. This garden, in Orange County's Corona del Mar, shows off succulents' wilder, more colorful side. The plantings create a spot-on connection between land and sea, as though they simply arose from the waves complete, like Venus on the half-shell, to their perch atop the bluff.

    When succulents expert and horticulturist Joe Stead saw Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom's patio, he wanted to edge it like this to set off the Pacific below. "As a kid, I explored tidepools down there," Joe says of the rocky coastline. "I marveled at the starfish and sea anemones. I wanted to bring that sense of wonder to this garden."

    In beds around Anton and Jennifer's patio, Joe planted purple echeverias, orange "Sticks on Fire,"

    Read More »from How to Create a Sea-creature Succulent Garden
  • 8 Succulent Shrimp Recipes

    Love shrimp? You'll adore these fresh and easy weeknight dinners and party pleasers.

    A Chinese takeout favoriteA Chinese takeout favorite
    Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp

    A Chinese takeout favorite--only lighter and quicker when you make it at home. A mere 20 minutes, and you can serve up juicy shrimp flavored by a rainbow of peppercorns.

    Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
    Total: 20 Minutes

    1/2 teaspoon each black, green, red, and white peppercorns
    2 pounds shrimp, shells on
    2 teaspoons salt, divided
    2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
    4 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

    1. Put peppercorns in a mortar and crush roughly with a pestle. Or put peppercorns in a large resealable plastic bag, spread out on a hard, flat surface, and crush with the bottom of a heavy frying pan or rolling pin.

    2. Put shrimp, half of the crushed peppercorns, and 1 tsp. salt in a large bowl and toss to coat shrimp evenly. Set aside.

    3. Heat a wok or large (not nonstick) pot over high heat. Add oil,

    Read More »from 8 Succulent Shrimp Recipes
  • 16 Family Room Ideas

    Design a gathering space the whole family will love with these family room ideas for both indoors and outside.

    Old-fashioned funOld-fashioned fun
    Encourage free play

    A media center doesn't have to be the focus of the room. Consider going unplugged instead and providing ample play space for games and puppet shows.

    pigeon-pen playhousepigeon-pen playhouse
    Transform unused space

    Once this small building was, literally, for the birds. It was a pigeon coop, abandoned long ago, and it was falling to the ground. But it sat at the end of the lawn and screened a view of the neighbors' yards. The family wanted a play area for the kids, so it made sense to save it. Now there's room to relax on a daybed with a book, draw on a chalkboard, or play at a kidsize table. Later the family may turn it into a studio, office, or guest house.

    Artifacts reflect personalitiesArtifacts reflect personalities
    Design a social space

    A functional seating area, placed in a U-shaped configuration, encourages conversation. Artifacts from family travels reflect the personalities of those who live here, while the fireplace and television anchor the space.

    A fun display boardA fun display board
    Read More »from 16 Family Room Ideas
  • Top 9 National Monuments

    Build a great vacation around a spectacular island, forest, cliff dwelling, canyon, fossil bed, tower, or volcano.

    Bandelier National Monument, NM
    Bandelier has been entrancing people for nearly 1000 years--from when the Ancestral Pueblo people first began building homes in the cliffs of Frijoles Canyon.

    They're easily seen on the monument's Main Loop Trail; more ruins can be glimpsed in Tsankawi Canyon to the north.

    But archeology isn't the only reason to come here--the monument is stunningly beautiful, with dramatic mesas and broad views across Northern New Mexico. All this only a 45-minute drive from Santa Fe.

    More: Exploring New Mexico on horseback

    Admiralty Island Admiralty Island
    Admiralty Island National Monument, Alaska

    Everything you want from Alaska is here. Deep green old-growth forests (thanks to 100 inches of rain a year), rushing streams alive with salmon, a rugged coastline, and the largest collection of brown bears--AKA grizzlies--anywhere in the world.

    In fact, one of the best places

    Read More »from Top 9 National Monuments
  • 23 Knock-out Native Plants

    Incorporating plants native to your climate means less water, less maintenance, and more wildlife. Here are our top picks around the West. Find out what grows best in your climate zone here. And if you don't know your zone, you can easily look it up.


    (Lewisia cotyledon)

    Native to: California and southern Oregon

    To about 1 ft. high, 10 in. wide. Rosettes of narrow, fleshy, evergreen leaves bear 10-in. stems topped by large, extremely showy clusters of 1-in. white or pink flowers often striped with rose or red. Blooms from spring to early summer. Lewisia cotyledon howellii is similar but has wavy-edged leaves and somewhat larger flowers. Prune out side growth to maintain air circulation around root crown. Can be grown in pots of fast-draining sterilized soil or growing mixes.

    Penstemon Margarita BOP

    Native to: California

    These deep blue beauties have purple throats.

    Common thriftCommon thrift
    Common thrift

    (Armeria maritima)

    Native to: California, Oregon, Washington, and B.C.


    Read More »from 23 Knock-out Native Plants
  • 8 Delicious Recipes with Fresh Corn

    Grill it to perfection, turn it into the perfect summer salad, make soup, and more.

    Especially good with grilled meatEspecially good with grilled meat
    Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Queso Fresco Butter
    From Mark Fischer, chef of Restaurant Six89 in Carbondale, Colorado, here's a decadent combo that's especially good with his "Achiote Short Ribs with Ancho Barbecue Sauce and Avocado Relish." Offer any leftover butter to spread on warm bread.

    Yield: Serves 6
    Prep Time: 30 Minutes
    Soak: 1 Hour

    6 ears corn on the cob in husks
    About 1/4 cup kosher salt
    1/2 cup queso fresco (Mexican-style fresh cheese)
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1/4 cup mayonnaise
    1 teaspoon lime zest
    2/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

    1. Remove silks from corn but leave husks intact. Put corn in a large bowl with 1/4 cup salt and water to cover. Soak about 1 hour.

    2. Heat a grill to medium-high (350° to 450°). Meanwhile, whirl queso fresco, butter, mayonnaise, and lime zest in a food processor until fairly smooth. Add cilantro and pulse to blend.

    Read More »from 8 Delicious Recipes with Fresh Corn


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