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I’m not sure where the summer went (seriously, where did it go?!), but it’s getting to be time for pencils, books and teachers’ dirty looks, aka back to school. Whether you greet the school year with dread or excitement, the upside is that school items and supplies offer plenty of DIY decor inspiration. Take a look at these crafty ideas that totally make the honor roll.

5 Back to School Crafts: Pennant Banner

Design: Brian Patrick Flynn

This vintage pennant banner from Brian Patrick Flynn really gets me in the school spirit. Though it’s intended for a themed party, I can easily imagine this dressing up a kids’ bedroom or even a game room, can’t you? Check out all the instructions over on DIY Network.

MORE BACK TO SCHOOL BEAUTIES

BRIANA: Here’s a seasonable topic from our own Camille: Outdoor living rooms. It seems like people are making their decks, patios and yards more elaborate and bringing all the comforts of the indoors outside. There are plenty of beautiful examples of this trend, like this cabana, but what are your personal feelings on elaborate outdoor living rooms? Are living rooms even greater in the great outdoors or are they big wastes of space?

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Image: Courtesy of Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills

MEG: That cabana makes me want to lounge outside in a caftan with a turban on my head and a spritzer in my hand all day long. I think it’s crucial to create spaces in your home that are intended for rest, relaxation, and time spent outdoors. The more we can make our homes invite that type of chill vibe, the better! If I had a backyard big enough to hold my own cabana, you better believe I’d be on that in a heartbeat. And let’s just ASSUME a hammock is involved, okay?

GRANT: I’d love to have a space like this, but l always wonder where the people put all this mess after the photo op is finished.

Do You Like the Outdoor Living Room Furniture Trend?

Design: Jamie Durie

As it is, my tiny outdoor set gets so dirty so fast and I’m super resentful of the citronella candles I need to bring inside.

MORE ARGUING ABOUT ELABORATE OUTDOOR LIVING ROOMS

As crazy as it may seem, it’s already time to stock up on school supplies. There’s nothing quite like a fresh pack of ballpoint pens and a color-coded assortment of spiral notebooks to start the year out right. But for many, it’ll be more than just basic supplies on the shopping list. Some of our HGTV.com readers will be packing up and heading into the brand-new cramped quarters of a shared living space. Yay, college! The key to this new living adjustment is making the space feel as comfortable and homey as possible. And just like living in a rental, there are plenty of ways to add decorative charm to the walls, floors and doors of your temporary living space without breaking the bank.

Check out a few of my favorites:

DIY Desk Accessories

Keep Your Desk Tidy: Make these custom desk accessories >>

DIY Corkboard

Hang Custom Artwork: Make a corkboard map to showcase travel adventures >> 

Top Dorm Room Decorating Ideas

Take a seat and see if you were right. We asked you to look at two similar stools to see if you could correctly tell which one was priced higher than the other. If you answered Left: high, Right: low, then you are correct and would clearly make a good shopping buddy. One lucky winner of the HGTV Magazine prize package will be notified by email.

These stools caught the eye of both our market director and Sabrina Soto to make it on September’s The High/Low List. The maple barstool on the left is upholstered in easy-to-clean indoor-outdoor fabric, so you never have to worry about stains. The right polyester pick has such a friendly price tag, you might as well buy a whole set. See what else made the cut by subscribing or picking up a copy when it hits stands Tuesday.

high and low proced bar stools

Could you be the winner?

Find all the shopping info for these products and lots more in the September issue and online here. And follow us on Twitter @HGTVMag to get daily budget-friendly ideas, design inspiration, and exclusive access inside amazing homes.

 

Peach Cornbread Slice

The fragrance of ripe peaches is as sensuous as Number 5. They draw you into their presence and urge you to fit just one more in the bag. Once the juicy flavor grenades are brought home, usually two fates await. They will be quickly devoured within the first few days or left to sit around with the best of intentions, ultimately lending themselves to over ripening. Here is an option for what to do with peaches that are on the verge of too ripe: bake up a rich cakey peach cornbread. The recipe uses up a lot of pantry staples keeping the need to go shopping for ingredients to a minimum. It’s slightly sweet, making it able to be served with a smear of creamy butter for breakfast or topped with whipped cream for dessert.

Get the Recipe

When we launched The High/Low Challenge sweepstakes on the blog last month, we were amazed at the number of entries we received. [Thanks for all the love!] Games are fun, aren’t they?

Getting in on the action is simple. Just take a look at the two bathroom set-ups below. Both enjoy a soaking tub, cute raindrop curtain, showerhead, and blue patterned bathmat. The test: Which group is priced low, and which is priced high?

How to enter: Leave your guess in the comments section below. For example: Left: high, Right: low or vice versa. One lucky winner will receive an HGTV Magazine iPhone 5 case, an HGTV Magazine umbrella, and a copy of the latest July/August issue (on sale Tuesday). You must answer correctly for a chance to win. Come back tomorrow when we reveal the answer.

july aug challenge

Can you tell the difference?

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Sweepstakes ends at 2:00 p.m. ET on June 13, 2014. Full official rules are available here. Sponsored by Scripps Networks, LLC dba Home & Garden Television, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932.

You guys LOVE a good guessing game! With more than 1,200 entries and comments, our very first High/Low Challenge sweepstakes was a big success and proves we’ve got some seriously impressive design eyes reading the blog.

You’re correct if you answered: Left: low, Right: high. The lucky winner of our HGTV Magazine prize package will be notified by email.

reveal image 1

Soak up the sun and the savings with this lightweight wicker chair and polyester umbrella in the left look. A chaise with stain-resistant cushions and teak umbrella make for a luxurious lounge spot on the right. Now all we need is a warm summer day and a good book. Find the info you need to snag any of these fabulous finds (plus lots more duos) in the latest installment of Sabrina Soto’s The High/Low List.

I’ve been on a hunt for “ugly things that aren’t ugly,” since last week’s post about modern filing cabinets. I received some really great requests to be on the look out for and I’ve added them all to my list. (If you’ve got a request, let me know in the comments!) This week, Liz wants a good looking ceiling fan. Challenge accepted. Since I wasn’t quite sure what style she might have in mind, I found a variety that could fit well into almost any setting. Here’s what I came up with:

attractive ceiling fans

Top Row, L to R: 1. Stella Ceiling Fan by Dave Ellis; 2. Flyte by G Squared; 3. Haiku Fan; Bottom Row, L to R: 4. Lit Modern Ceiling Fan #4; 5. Avian Ceiling Fan; 6. Plum by Modern Fan Co

RELATED: How to Install a Ceiling Fan

The key to finding a really beautiful ceiling fan, unfortunately, is looking beyond some of the big box home improvement stores. They’re so convenient, but their selection can leave the design enthusiast unsatisfied. And sadly, a lot of the better looking fans come with an equally “impressive” price tag. If you think of them as an investment — one you’ll be staring at every day — perhaps it’ll help get you over the sticker shock.

BRIANA: Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! Let’s discuss Cupid’s weapon of choice, the arrow. Seems like they’re equally popular as a motif and actual styling item these days. What do you think? Are you in love with arrows or do they miss the mark?

Do you like arrows in design? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

Photo: Jeff Romaniuk

KELLY SMITH TRIMBLE: Best example:

Do you like arrow motifs? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

I think they’re a fun way to direct the eye and give a design an overt focal point.

MORE TAKING AIM AT ARROWS

You know how you can live with something and think it’s great for years then one day you look at it and decide that it has to go — stat?! Well, that was me and the shower curtain in my guest bath. When I originally bought the Waverly “Norfolk Rose” shower curtain in 2007, I was going for a cozy cottage look and it fit the bill perfectly. Fast forward to 2014 and — while my taste is still traditional — my color preference has shifted to grays and blues and I like my patterns a little more graphic. Thus, the hunt for a new shower curtain commenced.

Here’s a peek of my guest bathroom before:
Cottage-Style Bathroom Before Makeover
See how I updated for less than $25

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