Inspiration Album

Dining

Classic dining room

Q: I am in the process of purchasing a 1950's ranch home and I am definitely wanting to do something different with the bathroom. I do not love the pink and green tile walls, but for right now they have to stay. There is wallpaper above the tile, but I plan on taking it down and painting the walls white or gray. My main concern is the floor - while I don't hate it too much on its own, I DO with the pink and green tile walls! I'm just not sure what would look good. My only ideas are plain white tile or black and white checkered tile...but I'm not overly excited about either of those. Does anyone have an idea what could be done about the silver handle on the wall by the toilet? There's another in the shower and I don't like them...but I just don't know what could be done about the holes in the tile. Editor: Leave your suggestions for Kirstie in the comments - thanks! Got a question? Send us yours with pic attachments here.

Dining table

Everyone knows babies love seeing their reflections in the mirror, so why not take advantage of it and use mirrors in the home in all the right places? Here are a few ideas.... We have the puddle mirrors above by Tord Boontje's next to our daughter's changing table. They're made out of polished stainless steel rather than glass, and they're self-adhesive. They add dimension to her teeny, tiny room and give her something to look at during changes. We recently positioned a large mirror from Ikea behind our kitchen sink as a back splash. It serves a few purposes- it reflects light from the windows in the other room to bring more light into our windowless kitchen- but it also helps our baby to see us while we're doing dishes and she's sitting in her highchair. As a result, we get lots of excited screams and giggles while doing dishes. Rococo Pink Mirror Silk Screened Zoo Animal Mirrors Best Places to Hang a Mirror Crib Mirrors ABC Wall Mirror Have guests paint tiles to frame a mirror in baby's room at a shower.

Dining room

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Colorful dining room

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Dining room

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Dining room

Do you wish you were more disciplined about limiting the length of your showers? Well, in honor of Earth Day 2009, we decided to show you a couple of eco-oddities that would aid you in your struggle to conserve resources.... Apparently these dynamic shower curtains, which we spotted on Moco Loco, are designed to help you monitor your water use. The Green Warrior Shower Curtains, prototypes designed by Elisabeth Buecher, interact with water and steam to inflate as your shower progresses. If your decadence keeps you in the shower too long, the shower curtain either strangles you or spikes you, depending on the model. That's one way to do it.... Strange, but true? Do you have any techniques to limit the lengths of your showers, short of compressing yourself in a sheath of plastic?

Dining room with pop art

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Kitchen

Wendy fell so in love with the character and charm of this rental apartment she was a bit blind to the stained, outdated wallpaper in the bedroom. After moving in, she realized an update was needed, and she went with a dark and dramatic color palette. When my children and I moved into our rental apartment last winter, I was so wowed by the charm and character of our new space that I scarcely noticed the dingy, stained wallpaper covering every room in the house. When you walk into an apartment and see built-ins, pocket doors and fireplaces with original tile you can overlook the little things like mysterious blood splatters on the walls, right? My landlord gave me permission to paint, but with the stipulation that I did not remove the wallpaper I painted away and miraculously the wallpaper didn't fall off in a big, wet paint heap. The stains are gone, the walls are still intact and this formerly drab and dreary room is now my most favorite room in our home.

Dining room and living room

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Dining room

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Dramatic dining room

'My husband and I recently moved into a small cottage-style home in College Park. In my frenzied anticipation, I went ahead and had some of our furniture reupholstered before the move - a regrettable decision, as the light in the new place is most certainly not what it was in the old. Although I have come to love the different beiges and creams in the space, I think it still looks like I made fabric choices under the influence. Any suggestions on how to tie the room together without breaking the bank?'. Kate,We love the fireplace and the floors in your new place, and can't wait to see more pictures! Have you considered a colorful area rug to help anchor your living room? The mirrored coffee table would reflect the colors of the rug and help make for a nice pop in front of the fireplace. Readers, do you have any advice for Kate and her husband in their new house?

Dining room

Benna sent an email: 'I am looking for a place to purchase cabinets. Reasonably priced, but simple and modern, and preferably in Chicago. So far I've tried Home Depot, Lowes, Remodeler's Supply Center, Expo Center, Ikea, etc. They either seem of cheap quality, are too expensive, or are not very modern looking. Can you please help??'. We went to the giant Kitchen and Bath Show last year at McCormick place and our favorite find was a cabinet maker just about to open their showroom. They make amazing looking aluminum cabinets which are designed and manufactured right here in Chicago. The aluminum cabinets are from the Celona line and the showroom is called Modern Habitat. They are located in River West at 1820 W. Hubbard and have walk-in as well as by-appointment hours. We are not sure of the price points, as they were just previewing the cabinets at KBIS, but the showroom is up and operating now and we think they are definitely worth a look for anyone in Chicago looking for a modern cabinet. Any other suggestions for Benna? Let us know in the comments.....

Kitchen and dining room

This is something that's always puzzled me: The Maxima Sport television ad pictured above exemplifies the phenomenon of mainstream ads featuring modern living. Why is it that we identify with such modern living in television spots but not in actual life? The home in the Nissan Maxima commercial looks like it could have been designed by Charles Eames, yet those purchasing the Maxima most likely live in relatively conventional suburban spec houses. Has anyone else noticed this pattern of idolizing contemporary designs while not actually living in them? Why don't we put our money where our admirations lie? I don't think it's only about money: I believe contemporary style is attainable even with a reasonable price tag.

Dining room

If mid century is your thing and you want to complete the look with period electronics then there is no better icon than the Predicta television. While the originals are still around if you look hard enough, actually watching TV on one is a little too retro in our opinion. Fortunately Predicta is reproducing these exact sets once again, but with color tube components and all new materials. We quite like the chalet model with its rotating and swivelling stand. These are not 1080p high definition televisions by any means, but rather a decorative piece for your living room that has found new life in 2007.

Modern dining table

We're used to seeing marble in bathrooms or on kitchen countertops, but this gorgeously veined stone can make a big impact in other parts of your home, too. Above: Marble in a workspace feels especially luxurious. A marble accent wall, because why not? You could also get the look with wallpaper. Feel free to cover a whole wall with marble anyway. In this rustic bedroom, a low-slung, marble-topped console adds a touch of luxe. A marble fireplace feels at once modern and timeless. I don't quite know how to describe this detail, but I think it's a really neat one: a very low marble ledge that runs along one side of a room, and provides an ideal spot for leaning art.

Kitchen and dining room

Sometimes when you move into a new home you're excited about some of the decorative elements the former owners left behind. Like in Darby's case, you're left with a room that practically makes your eyes bleed and your stomach turn. As her twin sister put it 'There are not words clever enough for the atrocity.' But don't worry - this story and this bathroom have a happy ending. Whew - so much better right? On a very tight budget, Darby totally updated and transformed this orange disaster into an orange delight. The bathroom is used by her three children, two girls and a boy, so in a sense the orange is a blessing since it so easily falls into the gender neutral category. Although she would have liked to put in new countertops and floors and replace the sink or tub her budget only had room for some fabric, wallpaper which was painted over, updated hardware and, of course, paint to lighten up the cabinets.