Designer Faves: 10 items Every Home Should Have.

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When you look at chic home after chic home, a few pieces pop up again and again. Not because they’re cliché, but because they’re utterly classic—and wildly useful to boot. With that in mind, we pulled together a top 10 list of tried-and-true pieces that should have a spot in every home. How many do you have?

1. Gilded mirrors. Grand, romantic, and timeless—what’s not to love? A glint of gilt dials up the drama in any room, and all mirrors add the illusion of light and space.

2. Simple tumblers. Effortless entertaining in a glass. Someone drops by unexpectedly, and you’ll want to have a sleek set of these on hand so that you can quickly grab a couple and mix your guest a cocktail (while hoping you picked up that dirty laundry in the bathroom—eek!).

3. Rush baskets. The question is, what can’t they do? They can hold wood near a fireplace, clothes in a laundry room, blankets in the living room, or toys in your tot’s room. In other words, they help your chaos appear under control.

4. Lacquered trays. Trays might just be the ultimate decorators’ trick. Those finished in lacquer elevate everything corralled on them, from perfume bottles in your bathroom to liquor on your bar.

5. Linen napkins. Ditch the paper, people. When setting your table, those pretty plates need chic cloth sidekicks to match.

6. Garden stools. They can tuck under a console table to be pulled out when you need extra seating or stand in for a side table.7. Cashmere throws. The opportunities are endless: Leave a couple rolled up in a basket in your living room for easy access when you want to cozy up during movie night; drape one over the foot of your bed for added oomph; tuck one around the back or seat cushions of your sofa to switch up the look sans a reupholstery job.8. Hurricane vessels. These sleek vessels (which protect your candles from wind but can also hold flowers) add height to vignettes, can frame a piece of art on a mantel or a console, and have centerpiece written all over them.

9. Silver picture frames. Some things never go out of style. Sticking disparate photos of friends, family, and past summer vacations in silver frames gives them a chic, cohesive look.

10. Coffee table books. They can riff off organic shapes like shells or potted plants in a vignette, and they give guests something to page through after plopping down on your couch.

You can never have too many books. They’re beautiful, personal, interactive, and always make a room feel cozy and finished.

— Designer Michael Smith

Transform with Color!

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People ask me all the time what one thing they can do to make their home more attractive without spending a lot of money. The answer is easy.

Add color!

The days of brown and beige is in the past and color is here to stay. Currently, you will find kitchens reinvented through the use of color appliances in bold hues.

I love the use of color in a home. I often change up the color in my own home for the seasons using pillows, decorative elements and paintings. You would be amazed at how simple things can make an old space sparkle.

Photo courtesy of Lonny.com

Selfie Love

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If I am honest, I love a good selfie. I’m no expert but then again, I find the beauty in most everything.

I think taking selfies or even iPhone shots of your loved ones is a chance to capture a memory forever and have a little fun while doing so. I recently read some great tips for good selfies and wanted to share them with you.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season (but still useful year-round), here are 10 tips to help you look & feel your best in photos:

1. Natural lighting is everything. Your optimal glow can be found outdoors or near a window.

2. Tilt your head at an angle. This slight tweak highlights your cheekbones & accentuates your eyes.

3. Always shoot from above. Keep your camera lens above eye level for the most flattering angle.

4. Stand at a three-quarter angle. Avoid squaring up your body. Instead, shift your figure so that your stance is led by one of your shoulders.

5. Put your hand on your hip. Everyone does it on the red carpet for a reason. It’s cliche, but it will force you to stand up straight and therefore look slimmer!

6. Look for simple, clean backgrounds. Before you snap, see what’s behind you. Aim for something that contrasts well with your outfit and doesn’t distract.

7. Get big, bright eyes! If you tend to blink, ask the person behind the camera to count to three. Close your eyes to keep them relaxed & at the count of three, open them as the camera clicks.

8. Find a favorite pic. Do you have a photo of yourself you love? Try to copycat that photo next time you strike a pose.

9. Wear a little makeup! No time to do a full face? Pop on some lip gloss or even just Vaseline to make your smile brighter.

10. Be yourself! Don’t be afraid to show off your vibrant personality—it will come through on camera & ultimately make for a better picture.

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