Liz Gray

"In search of Eames-worthy style on a Craigslist budget. And pie."

Liz is a senior editor at HGTV.com and an co-editor-in-chief for Design Happens. She lives in a midcentury tri-level that’s stuck in the ‘70s…for now. When she’s not working on remodeling projects with her guy and mystery breed puppy, Miles, you can find her buying impractical hats, scheming mad scientist-style in her overworked kitchen and drooling over Danish modern furniture.

Liz Gray ON INSTAGRAM

POSTS BY Liz Gray

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I’ve been chatting with HGTV.com guest editor Nancy Fire for our upcoming spring trend report (out later this week!), and one of the color combinations she’s loving this season is a neutral room with a bold pop. As an example of the growing trend, she sent this bedroom featured in Homestyle magazine. I’ve been a little bit obsessed with this palette ever since:

Neon and Neutral Bedroom Color Ideas

In both home and fashion, designers have been redefining the term “neutrals” for quite awhile now — the color category has evolved to include not just basic beige but also light pinks, soft grays, dark navy and even olive green.

I love how this room combines several new neutrals with unexpected shots of blue, orange and neon yellow. This same palette works equally well for a twist on traditional wedding florals, like these boutonnieres spotted on Style Me Pretty. In both examples, a mix of neutral hues provides a classic base, with the bright accent colors lending an eclectic vibe.

I’m ready to try this palette in my bedroom — what about you? Tell me what you think of these colors in the comments below.

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Congratulations to this month’s random winner, Kristin! Check back on April 4 for another great giveaway.

I’m sensing signs of spring all around East Tennessee: My yard’s first crocuses and daffodils are starting to bloom and temperatures are climbing, if only a little. That’s all the encouragement I need to start thinking about spring parties. A set of table linens in fresh spring hues is a great way to get ready for that first warm-weather event, and this month we’re loving Coyuchi’s new line of natural-fiber tabletop pieces featuring colors inspired by flowers and plants. The company even has a collection inspired by our March Color of the Month, Orchid:

Organic Table Linens From Coyuchi
One lucky reader will win 1 set of napkins, 1 table runner and 4 placemats from the Coyuchi tabletop collection of their choice. Read on to enter for a chance to win this great prize!

Leave A Comment to Enter for a Chance to Win

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When Pantone first unveiled Radiant Orchid, its 2014 Color of the Year, the hue got mixed reviews from the Design Happens staff. But now that spring is on the horizon, we have purple on the brain — our top two color pitches this month were Orchid and Lavender! But which purple to choose?

We turned to guest editor Nancy Fire to cast our tie-breaking vote. Fresh from international design shows like Paris’s Maison & Objet and Cologne, Germany’s IMM, she looked to the marketplace to help her decide. The answer came quickly: Orchid. “The world is orchid crazy right now, with Radiant Orchid showcased on products all over the universe, from fabrics, lamp shades, hand-painted chairs as well as other decorative accessories,” Nancy says. “So, my pick is orchid for obvious home decor reasons. ”

Even if you’re on the fence about orchid, it’s time to give this color a second look. We love how just a tiny bit of orchid adds necessary early spring vibrancy to a room. See how orchid accessories, like the amazing string art, chandelier and chair, reinvigorate this modern kids’ room?

Radiant Orchid and Mint Green - HGTV Color of the Month March 2014

Unless you’re purple-crazy, small doses are the way to go: Try pairing it with soft greens, like hemlock or mint, or soft grays for a more muted look.  For a modern take, try bright white and citron paired with pops of orchid. This tween room’s inviting bedding and fun striped ceiling makes me kind of want to move in.

Radiant Orchid Project Nursery Teen Bedroom

And as days (finally) start to warm up, don’t rule out orchid for your outdoors spaces. We love how (purple-obsessed) designer Brian Patrick Flynn incorporated the hue into this eclectic outdoor living room.

Radiant Orchid Back Porch - Design By Brian Patrick Flynn

What do you think of orchid? Will you use the hue in your home this spring? Tell me in the comments below.

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Confession time: I’m not in love with Pantone’s 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid. As with most purple-pink shades, it’s one of those beautiful colors I just prefer to see in someone else’s home. (I’m still lobbying for one of my fellow editors to paint their cabinets like this.)

Radiant Orchid Spring Color Palette on HGTV's Design Happens Blog

So, I’m surprised to say that when I saw this modern dining room with mint and orchid accents from Elle Decor, I kind of fell for it. In a “maybe this is my new guest room color palette” kind of way. Paired with blush pink, white, black and antiqued gold, it feels so spring-fresh, doesn’t it? I also love the combination on a smaller scale in this floral pillow and this metallic necklace.

Are you a fan of the 2014 Color of the Year? Would you add it to your home? Tell me in the comments below.

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It’s Palm Springs Modernism Week, so that means my Instagram feed is full of amazing midcentury modern houses perched atop desert landscapes. One of my favorites is the low-slung Edris House, designed in 1954 by architect E. Stewart Williams.

Palm Springs-Inspired Neutral Bedroom Color Palette on HGTV Design Happens

The rainbow-hued Saguaro Hotel aside, I love the classic midcentury Palm Springs look: stark, minimalist exteriors that blend seamlessly into the desert landscape. Even if you don’t live in a historic 1950s masterpiece,  you can bring the desert minimalism inside. I love how designer Lori Dennis created this hotel-inspired master suite that features bright white walls, dark wood furniture and trim and blue and green accents. There’s even a bedside cactus!

We’ll, I’ve admitted my midcentury modern design obsession. Do you go for the minimalist look, too?

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Hey, guys. I’ve been busy with Dream Home (today is your last chance to enter!), but I couldn’t resist the chance to restart my Tuesday Huesday series with a Valentine-inspired color palette. You see, my very first Tuesday Huesday post was inspired by the holiday of love, too! (Catch up on all the past posts here.)

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve got a sweet color palette for you all. I kind of fell for these adorable, printable doughnut boxes over on Sugar and Charm, and that made me think, “What would that look like in room form?” Well, this:

Blue and Pink Kitchen Color Palette on HGTV's Design Happens Blog
Turquoise-y blue and soft pink often create a vintage vibe that I’m very fond of, but I love how the color combo gets a modern spin in Jutta Rikola’s kitchen featured on Design Sponge.  And the adorable raincloud motif would be a fun update for the coming spring, too.

What’s your take on this color palette? And, what combos do you think I should feature in the future? Ready…go!

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Congratulations to this month’s random winner, Zeeone! Come back on March 7 for another great giveaway.

I just returned from Altitude Design Summit, where I met fabulous makers of all sorts: jewelry designers, sewing mavens, interior designers, fashion bloggers and so much more. In addition to great panels and conversations about blogging, photography and DIY, there were some pretty amazing decorations. Check out this dessert table by HGTV.com contributor Kim Stoegbauer of the The TomKat Studio:

Paper Backdrop from Cricut Lounge

I was also blown away by the paper decor at a garden-themed party, especially this butterfly-covered dress.  The cool thing? The decor for both of these spaces was cut using Cricut’s all-new Explore cutting machine, which lets you upload your own designs or try out their pre-designed templates.

Cricut Alt Summit Party

It’s not available in stores until March 15, but you can enter for a chance to win your own right now! Read on to find out more and throw your name in the hat.

So, what’s new about the Cricut Explore? The cutting machine features a dial that easily lets you switch between materials, from paper to iron-on sheets to fabric to cardstock.

Cricut Explore System Shot

That vinyl decal you’ve been wanting? Cut it out yourself using one of the Cricut Design Space templates:

Cricut Decal Patterns

Or design your own custom template, upload it and cut it out yourself:

Cricut Design Baby Onesie
Ready to wow your friends and family with custom decorations at your next birthday party or barbecue? To enter for a chance to win the Cricut Explore cutting machine, leave a comment below.  This giveaway’s question: What do you make? What’s your crafting passion? Tell us in the comments below.

Cricut Cupcake Wrappers

 You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 9:00 a.m. ET on February 7, 2014 and 12:00 p.m. ET on February 10, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of the prize: $299.00. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932

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Another month, another epic color battle for the HGTV.com Color Team. Two colors — cheerful Pink Grapefruit and demure Camelhair — were so close that we literally couldn’t choose. So we threw it to HGTV.com Guest Editor Nancy Fire to make the final call. Here’s her verdict:

“This was a very hard decision, because I love using grapefruit with neutrals so in essence BOTH colors should win, hence your tie,” Nancy says. “But if one color has to win my vote, it’s grapefruit. I really love color, and grapefruit always looks fresh and updated.

Introducing Pink Grapefruit, our February 2014 Color of the Month! Let’s toast to our newest color with this Spicy Grapefruit Margarita, found over on The Life Styled. (Psst…It’s the perfect way to spice up your Valentine’s Day festivities.)

Grapefruit Margarita - The Life Styled

Via The Life Styled Blog

We love how this color bridges the gap between winter and spring. “I like that it’s a winter fruit, but the color feels fresh and springy,” says special projects editor Marianne, who pitched the winning hue. Even a small, er, squeeze of the color makes a huge visual impact. Here, designer Liz Carroll added grapefruit stripes on the ceiling to give this bedroom a playful touch:

Eclectic Grapefruit Bedroom

Design by Liz Carroll

Fabric is another great way to add color as we ease into spring “I started working with softer colors for the HGTV HOME product line in early 2013…and one of the trends for the whole line for 2014 is called “The Softer Side,” says guest editor Nancy Fire.  These three fabrics from the new “Softer Side” fabric collection in the “blushing” colorway feature cheerful grapefruit accents:

HGTV Home Fabrics in Blushing

HGTV Home Fabrics in Blushing Hues

So, how will you use grapefruit this February? Will it fill your cocktail glass, dress up your living room or be featured in your Valentine’s Day table setting? Tell us in the comments below.

Elegant Winter Party Table Setting

Design by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo

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Congratulations to our winner, Aparna! Check back on February 7 for another great giveaway.

January is all about getting a fresh start. Since you’re likely to be cooped up inside for another month or two, it’s also a perfect time to brighten up your decor. Wallpaper has been making a comeback for several years now, and for good reason: It’s a great way to personalize your space with vibrant patterns, like the hand-printed wallpaper designs from Kimberly Lewis Home.

This month, we’re giving one lucky reader a chance to win two rolls of Kimberly’s gorgeous wallpaper! Love our January Color of the Month? Check out these vibrant patterns featuring cheerful Lemon Zest:

Kimberly Lewis Home - Handprinted Designer Wallpaper Clockwise from top left: “Sierra” in Cadmium, “Marigny” in Atmosphere, “Striped” in Canary

My personal favorite? The blue, green and gray “Beverly” print. It was inspired by the fabric of a vintage dress!

Kimberly Lewis Home - Handprinted Designer Wallpaper

To enter for a chance to win two rolls of your favorite wallpaper from Kimberly Lewis Home, leave a comment below. This giveaway’s question: What’s your favorite way to brighten your home during the winter months?

Due to the handmade nature of this product, please allow for 4-6 weeks for printing. 

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 12:00 p.m. ET on January 17, 2014 and 12:00 p.m. ET on January 21, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of the prize: $390.00 to $310.00. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932
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After the hectic holiday season, it’s finally time to get back into the swing of things. New Year’s resolutions aside, January is a great time to reboot, reorganize and re-energize your space. That’s why for our January Color of the Month, a fresh, fruity hue with just enough brightness is our pick. It’s…Lemon Zest!

Lemon Curd Recipe - HGTV.com
This sunny yellow hue won our hearts with its mood-lifting qualities. Slightly more subtle than Pantone’s spring 2014 yellow choice, Freesia, it’s still bright enough to bring life to post-holiday interiors. Take down the tinsel and bring on the lemony accents! (And the lemon curd.) Read on to see why we chose this hue + the best ways to use it.

See More Lemony Color Inspiration

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Homemade gingerbread houses can be a bit intimidating, but you don’t have to be a professional baker or create a three-story Victorian house to get in on the fun. I make a gingerbread house almost every year — from scratch — but I don’t aim for perfection. Here’s a mini house I made this year:

Make Your Own Gingerbread House

Sure, the mortar is a little bit oozy and the roofline isn’t quite straight. Do I like it any less? Of course not! It’s about the process more than the result. (And its flaws give it character.) No matter what your baking skill level, all gingerbread houses start with a great gingerbread recipe, lots of royal icing and a pattern. Here are 5 houses to try out this weekend.

Five DIY Gingerbread Houses

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Sure, holiday decorations are nice (and so pretty), but let’s be real: It’s not a party without festive food and drink. A buffet table allows guests to flow through the food line  — perfect for the casual vibe of our holiday party.  Want to create your own? Follow these tips for success.

Find the right spot to set up your table. Food tables are kinda like real estate: that is, all about location, location, location. You want an out-of-the-way spot that still allows for an entry and exit point.  Skip spots like a kitchen island that create a bottleneck for a large group.

Holiday Food Table Setup Tips

Dress up a temporary table. You don’t need a dining room or even a buffet table to make this party setup work. We used a fold-up party table topped with a covering made from a dropcloth (!!!) and a small, hemmed piece of gorgeous marbled fabric.

DIY Holiday Tablecloth From DIY Network

Create a starting spot. Placing the plates and napkins at one end of the table creates a clear entry point. Copper string lights inside a footed cloche draw attention to the beginning of the line.

More Buffet-Table Tips

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Congratulations to our winner, Connie! Please stay tuned tuned for our next great giveaway.

There’s a reason why repurposed furniture projects and MacGyver-style crafts are fan favorites on HGTV.com: Beyond the budget-savvy benefits of reusing old pieces, it’s also satisfying to know that you kept an old table or glass jar out of a landfill by reinventing it.

That’s why we love eco-friendly retailer Bambeco’s recycled glassware and ornaments. You’d never guess that these sparkling gems started from recycled soda bottles! We’re offering one lucky Design Happens reader a chance to win their own set of these items, along with an organic wreath outfitted with enough thyme, rosemary and bay leaves to last long after the holiday season is over.

Win Christmas Decorations From Bambeco

One lucky winner will receive:

To enter for a chance to win this giveaway, leave a comment below. This giveaway’s question: How do you repurpose old items in your holiday decorations?

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 12:00 p.m. ET on December 6, 2013 and 12:00 p.m. ET on December 9, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of the prize: $150.00. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932

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Mmmmm…butternut squash. Sure, it’s delicious when roasted or blended into soup, but have you ever considered incorporating butternut squash into your fall decor? Add this oblong squash to your table in a new way this Thanksgiving — as an easy-to-make, inexpensive vase.

Butternut Squash Vases

It just takes a few minutes to make your own. To make an arrangement like you see above, you’ll want three or five butternut squash in varying heights. The smaller, the better; larger butternut squash have thicker flesh that makes them slightly more difficult to work with. I got these at a local farmers’ market.

Cut and Hollow Out Butternut Squash
After first trying a pumpkin-carving saw, I found that the best tool for hollowing out the squash was a long-handled spoon. Make a circle at the top of the squash’s oblong stem, leaving about 1/2 inch of flesh around the edge. Continue scooping chunks of squash until you reach the seeds. Scoop out what you can, then rap onto a cutting board a few times to remove remaining seeds.

Fall Butternut Squash Centerpiece
Next, add the flowers of your choice. I went with dahlias, sunflowers and cockscomb in purples, yellows and greens. Then, add water and display on your Thanksgiving table!

Turn Butternut Squash Into a Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Get full instructions for this project here, plus find even more Thanksgiving ideas on HGTV.com.

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With Thanksgiving around the corner and the holiday season in sight, ’tis the season for fresh cranberries. Sure, they make a mean cranberry sauce or upside-down cake, but if you’ve tried one straight from the bag, you know cranberries are nothing short of pucker-inducing. So, I was skeptical when I first heard that sugared cranberries made a great snack. As the kitchen investigator I try to be, I had to see for myself.

You guys. These things are addictive. Soaking cranberries overnight in a maple-scented simple syrup transforms them from pucker-worthy to perfectly sweet-tart. Rolling them in superfine sugar adds a satisfying crunch. As pretty as they are tasty, they make a great cake or cocktail garnish. Make a double batch and wait for the rave reviews.

Sugared Cranberry Recipe on HGTV.com

GET THE SUGARED CRANBERRIES RECIPE

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When Briana asked about the white pumpkin trend in a recent Defend the Trend post, a whopping 81 percent of you said you loved the look. I’m with the majority here — I adore the elegance a white pumpkin brings to the (Thanksgiving) table. Whether you have leftovers from Halloween or are picking up a few just for Thanksgiving, here are 7 of my favorite ways to use these fall gems.

Turn White Pumpkins Into a Fall Succulent Planter
Pint-sized white pumpkins make an adorable vessel for single succulents. Kelly Smith Trimble from DIY’s Made + Remade blog inspired me to use these as take-home place markers at a recent fall dinner party. She used the adorable succulents as part of this modern tablescape filled with assorted pumpkins, squash and sprigs of eucalyptus.

Fall Tablescape With Mini White Pumpkins

More Ways to Decorate With White Pumpkins

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There’s nothing like the threat of company — especially parents, grandparents and mother-in-laws — to create that extra motivation needed to finish those lingering home improvement projects. (Guest bedroom, I’m coming for you.) If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, it’s likely you’ve spent some quality time at the local paint store.

Once the drop cloth is up and the rollers cleaned (or safely stored in the garage…no judgement here), why not use up that collection of paint sticks? That’s the humble material this copper-coated herringbone runner started out as:

Make Paint Sticks Into a Herringbone Table Runner

Give them a second life — kind of like Grandma’s vintage coat — as a table runner that will last from Thanksgiving all the way through the holiday season. Read on to learn how to make this chic and affordable table accent.

How To Turn Paint Sticks Into a Table Runner

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We’ve told you all about our holiday party table setup, from Marianne’s gutter centerpiece to Deanne’s rustic-chic place card holders to Dan’s handmade farmhouse benches. But have you looked up yet? When you do, you’ll see one of my favorite projects from the whole party: A chandelier fashioned from a plain old branch and beautiful dried flowers.

Here’s a peek at the finished product if you’ve missed it so far:

Decorate for the Holidays With an Easy Branch Chandelier

I love how it started as, well, a branch (specifically, a drifter that landed on Marianne’s porch) and, with a little embellishment, became something gorgeous. It’s also an affordable holiday update — the branch is free, the other materials inexpensive — that can last throughout the holiday season. Want to make your own at home? I’ve got you covered. Read on.

MAKE YOUR OWN BRANCH CHANDELIER

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Have you enjoyed our holiday party posts so far? We have so much more to share with you! Last week, we talked all about the fireplace design in the rustic party space at Knoxville’s gorgeous Botanical Garden. This week, we’ll share our DIY project ideas for creating a perfect holiday table. Today, read on to find our top 8 tips to help you plan and create a table setting that sets a festive mood — without making you pull your hair out. But first, here’s a peek at the finished design:

Holiday Table Setting Ideas From HGTV and DIY Network

Let decorations do double (or triple!) duty. When we started planning a holiday celebration for the Design Happens and Made + Remade crews, we shied away from traditional colors. Why? Apart from the fact that we just wanted something a little bit different for our table design, using a plum and turquoise palette with lots of metallics makes these decorations feel perfectly appropriate from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s Eve. One set of DIY projects for the whole season? Yes, please!

Holiday Table Setting Ideas From HGTV and DIY Network

Low centerpieces keep the conversation flowing. We chose a short-in-stature, tall-on-style centerpiece (how-to video coming to tomorrow’s Weekday Crafternoon!) made from a length of gutter and winter florals, plus a hanging branch centerpiece strung with dried cockscomb. That left eye level open, making it easier for guests to chat and enjoy the party.

More Holiday Table Setting Tips

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I’m a DIYer to the core. (Also see: Obsessive Craigslister, craft store aficionado, Pinterest project beta tester.) My first thought when I see a vase or a bookshelf or a wreath I like is usually “How can I make this?” But I’ll admit, I’ve always been a bit intimidated when it comes to upholstery projects.

So when I saw a lampshade-making class on the schedule at Altitude Design Summit, I decided to give it a shot. That’s when I met HGTV.com and Design* Sponge contributor Amanda Brown for the first time.

We started with funky, amazing fabrics you wouldn’t find in most big-box stores. After gluing the fabric to plastic backing, we clamped it around metal rings and embellished it with ribbon. I went home with a pretty amazing lampshade, and a desire to learn more about the craft of upholstery. (Come back to Design Happens next week to learn this process!)

Amanda Brown - Spruce Upholstery

Just a few short years ago, Amanda was just where I am: Eager to put her own DIY stamp on furniture finds, but not sure where to start. She enrolled in some upholstery classes, and before she knew it she had jumped in with both feet. She started rehabbing furniture as a side project; then started Spruce Austin to make her side job her day job. Over the last several years, she’s learned the tricks of the trade. Luckily, you don’t have to start an upholstery shop to learn her process. She wrote the new book, Spruce: A Step-By-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design to be the textbook she wished she had when she was first starting out.

Spruce Design Book

The book delves into the step-by-step process of revamping the furniture pieces in Amanda’s real-life living room, from a bold wingback chair to an upholstered ottoman to modern-lined sofa. It’s full of practical knowledge like how to find and use the tools of the trade, plus tips to choose the right fabrics and figure out the proper yardage for each project. There’s also a handy glossary to help you decode upholstery terms.

EXCLUSIVE: SEE HOW AMANDA PREPS FURNITURE FOR UPHOLSTERY

Along the way, she also shares some of her favorite furniture transformations, and fun moments from the upholstery shop. Here are just a few of the items Amanda and her staff have recovered while reupholstering pieces (no diamond rings or pearl necklaces yet, though!):

New Upholstery Book by Amanda Brown

Ready to start your upholstery journey? Meet up with Amanda and the Spruce team in person on their cross-country book-signing tour, or attend a workshop and learn to make your own bench or lampshade. Find her in HGTV’s stomping ground of Knoxville, Tenn. on Tuesday, November 12. (See the full schedule here.)

RELATED: MAKE YOUR OWN UPHOLSTERED DOOR

But don’t just take my word for it…see more design bloggers’ thoughts on the book here:

Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery And Design, is available now.

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