POSTS BY Kristine Thomason

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After three incredible months of working at HGTV.com, last Friday marked my final day as an intern (insert waterfall of tears here). I still can’t believe how quickly this summer flew by, but as they say, that’s just what happens when you’re having fun. I’ve loved every minute of this job, but it’s time for me to head back to school to complete my final year studying Journalism and Psychology at NYU.

So, for my last post, I decided to stick with the back-to-school theme and throw together a little lesson for you inspired by my secondary major: Psychology! Today’s psychology class will be focused on color and how the hues we choose for our home can affect how we feel.
Color Psychology
As cited on Pantone’s website, “Scientists have found that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when they are exposed to certain colors. Colors can stimulate, excite, depress, tranquilize, increase appetite and create a feeling of warmth or coolness. This is known as chromodynamics.” For example, some studies have shown red stimulates the senses, while blue has a more calming effect.

These reactions are thought to be caused by our subconscious association of colors with their occurrences in nature — red with fire, blue with water, etc. Whatever the exact reason, when re-designing your home, consider not only which paint is the prettiest, but also what feelings a certain color may create. Before I get carried away nerd-ing out over psych theories, here’s a basic overview on the psychology of color.

Color Psychology

Red: Bold and Energetic
Red is considered a high-arousal color and has been shown to stimulate one’s senses, so adding red to a room instantly evokes energy. Plus, since we psychologically associate red with hot natural elements like fire, the color itself creates feelings of warmth in any room. Consider covering your walls in a deep red hue to make an area of your home feel more intimate, or incorporate red accents in a room that needs a dose of vivacity.

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It’s that time of year again! Time for newly sharpened pencils, first-day outfits and anxiety-ridden dreams about forgetting to do your homework (or was that one just me?) That’s right; it’s back to school season! To echo Briana’s sentiment, where did summer go?! It absolutely flew by! I was dumbfounded when I saw back to school was trending on Yahoo. But sure enough, for everyone from Pre-K to college, the school year is just around the corner. In the spirit of heading back to the classroom, I’ve put together a complete schedule of 8 school-inspired rooms. Look for decorating ideas based on your favorite subject! I promise there won’t be a pop quiz at the end.

8 Rooms Inspired by School Subjects
7:30 AM — Math
Our school day begins with an early math class. Brightly painted red, white and black number blocks are used to offset the bold wallpaper in this adorable nursery. Cute accessories that double as tools for learning how to count — definitely an A+ combo.

THE SCHOOL DAY CONTINUES

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When you begin searching for a new craft idea, it’s easy to be lured by two magical words: NO SEW. Sure, no-sew crafts generally seem less daunting and easier to put together in your spare crafting time. And of course, if you don’t own a sewing machine, no-sew crafts are the only way to go.

That said, yesterday marked 163 years since Isaac Singer patented the sewing machine, so in honor of this momentous day in crafting history, dust off your sewing machine (or borrow one from a friend), grab some thread and try some of these cute craft ideas! Trust me, they’re sew simple and fun, you definitely won’t regret giving one a try.

5 DIY Sewing Craft Ideas

Fabric Pouf Ottoman
Creating a custom ottoman is an easy way to add a punch of color and personality to a room. Something to consider with the school year just around the corner: These poufs are a great option for college dorm rooms since they’re super versatile. You can use them as ottomans, extra seating, or even as a coffee table by placing a serving tray on top. SEWING INSTRUCTIONS HERE>>

SEW MUCH MORE

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GE Micro Kitchen

Courtesy of GE Appliances

Let’s play a game: Guess whether the appliance in the photo above is a dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, microwave, sink, or oven. Would you believe me if I told you it was each and every one of those? Well, meet GE’s micro-kitchen, an innovative appliance designed to house all of your kitchen needs in a compact stylish unit.

GE Micro Kitchen

Courtesy of GE Appliances

GE Micro Kitchen

Courtesy of GE Appliances

At first glance, the micro-kitchen looks like it came straight out of a futuristic movie, but this appliance is no product of fiction. Rather, it was designed to address the needs of the modern consumer, and specifically the ever-increasing “small-living” trend.

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Everyone has beaches on the brain! According to Yahoo, people are still eager to plan excursions to the ocean, as beach searches are off the charts this month. I can definitely relate. Though I live in New York now, I grew up in Huntington Beach, CA, so summer will always mean one thing to me: spending as much time at the beach as humanly possible. I usually head home once the air starts turning humid, but this is the first summer I’ve spent away from the West Coast. It’s certainly a change from what I’m used to, but it’s exciting to have a new summer experience. (I even visited my first East Coast beach last week!) For those of you who, like me, wish you could wake up to a beautiful beach everyday, here are 8 waterfront bedrooms from HGTV FrontDoor to dream about.

Dreamy Beachside Bedrooms

Photo courtesy of Concierge Auctions

Private Island Retreat
The first stop on our fantasy tour is on the private Wakaya Island of Fiji, where the likes of Celine Dion, Jim Carrey, and even Bill Gates frequent. This bedroom is part of the Lawedua estate, which was designed to create the ultimate indoor/outdoor experience. Mission accomplished — this view makes it feel like you’re practically in the ocean.

Dreamy Beachside Bedrooms

Courtesy of Sibarth Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International, Jean-Philippe Piter

Surreal in St. Barts
The contemporary bedroom of this villa in St. Barts has large open-air doorways that lead to an outdoor patio and pool area. The beautiful dark wood beams cast shadows in the room, making it feel nothing short of dreamlike.

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In the June issue of HGTV Magazine, one article advised readers to check their closets for design inspiration. The logic behind this advice is that whatever hues dominate your wardrobe are the ones that make you most happy, therefore you should use them when decorating. I couldn’t help but think, What about the trendy pieces I bought for summer? Those are serious outliers in my closet. Then I had another thought: As Trevor mentioned earlier this summer, throw pillows are the easiest way to change up home decor. So, why not use trend-inspired pillows to spice up our couches just as much as we did our summer wardrobes? If you’d like to give this idea a try, here are 6 throw pillows inspired by summer fashion trends.

Shirt: Ohne Titel, Pillow: HGTV

Geometric Patterns
Loud patterns ranging from floral to geometric are making strong statements across runways and streets alike. Inspired by this summer trend, add some punch to your decor with a bold-patterned pillow.

Shirt Dress: Joie, Pillow: Linda Woods

Chambray
Material that was once used for men’s work shirts is now on trend for both men and women. In your home, different shades of chambray can give off very different looks. Create a rustic look with dark chambray and a traditional feel with light. Or, for a more eclectic touch, try a chambray ikat pillow like this one designed by Linda Woods.

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Happy Bastille Day everyone! I must admit, I’m feeling pretty nostalgic. I was lucky enough to watch the fireworks erupt behind the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day last year (take me baaack), so I’m having a serious case of wanderlust today. Even if we can’t all go to Paris to join in traditions like watching the fireworks or attending the Military Parade on the Champs-Élysées, we can certainly celebrate this historic day in our own way here in America. Here’s a few HGTV takes on La Fête Nationale traditions:

Bastille Day Ideas: Red, White and Blue Decor
All Things Blue, White, and Red
Remember all those cute Fourth of July decorations you put so much thought into two weeks ago? Good news: Bastille Day gives you a reason to re-use your festive red, white and blue pieces. Just remove anything involving stars and stripes and voilà — your home is ready for French festivities.

MORE BASTILLE DAY IDEAS

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I’m once again suggesting you take the party outsideCrafternoon style this time! My good friend Whitney threw a wonderful crafting party in Washington Square Park last week. The event was a hit and I highly recommend throwing your own crafting party in the park, or any outdoor venue you prefer. After staking out a perfect spot in the shade, the afternoon was comprised of great friends, delicious food, adorable puppies, lots of pictures and beautiful paper flowers. While bringing craft supplies outdoors may seem counter-intuitive, the open setting gives you ample space to create. (Plus it’s so nice to be out in the fresh air during these hot summer days.)

Whether you host a big crafting event or just a get-together with a few close friends, this summer party idea is great for guests of all ages. Here are a few tips to make your own Crafternoon a success:

Throw a Crafting Party

Photo: Courtesy of Whitney Penn

Pick a Convenient Craft
Make sure you pick a DIY project that is nature-friendly — in other words, nothing that requires excessive materials, cleanliness, or, of course, electricity.  Whitney cleverly chose paper flowers for her party craft, which fit both thematically and logistically. The craft itself was simple and the components were easy to transport. Plus, if the petals got a little crumpled or dirty, it just made them seem more realistic.

More paper flower crafts: Fourth of July Wreath, Wedding Bouquet

Other easy outdoor crafts: Coiled Wire Ring, Felt Bowls, Friendship Bracelets

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Calling all Harry Potter fans: Your favorite scar-sporting wizard is back. Even if you’re not a Potter nerd like I am, you’ve probably already heard about the new story J.K. Rowling published Tuesday on Pottermore. Loyal HP fans flooded the site, eager to read more about the famous fictional wizard. Considering it’s been seven years since Deathly Hallows was published (crazy, right?), the reaction is no surprise. The frenzy even crashed Pottermore.com for a period of time, but don’t fret! The site is back up and running!

The short story comes in the guise of a Rita Skeeter gossip column in which Rowling gives readers a glimpse at the lives of Harry and crew, now in their mid-30s. We learn sparing details, like how Harry has a new scar and “a couple of threads of silver” in his hair sorry, no more spoilers. Instead, to honor this momentous day in the lives of HP fans everywhere, I’ve compiled pictures of furniture and accessories that are reminiscent of the Wizarding World — without resorting to the obvious broomstick or wand. Here are 6 ways to translate elements of Harry’s world into decor even us muggles could actually use:

Harry Potter Inspired Decor

Top, L to R: Red and Gold Living Room (Gryffindor Common Room), Tree Canopy Bed (Enchanted Forest) | Middle, L to R: Eclectic Mirror (Mirror of Erised), Upcycled Bottles (Potions) | Bottom, L to R: Telephone Box Book End (Ministry of Magic Entrance), Stair-Step Bedroom Dresser (Cupboard Under the Stairs)

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Summer is a season for travel. I’m not much of a go-on-vacation-to-relax kind of girl, but I do love exploring new places and taking in different cultures. Decorating my room to remind me of the places I’ve been is a fun way to keep those memories alive. Every time I see the mini Dutch shoe I bought in the Netherlands, I remember how wonderful it was to go there with my family. And I love that I can simply look at my shelf to spur those memories, rather than yanking out scrapbooks or browsing Facebook albums. (Although, who am I kidding? I definitely still do that, too!)

If you’ve gone somewhere incredible in the past or you’re heading on a new adventure this summer, consider translating your travels into decor. Whether you plan on completely revamping your home or just incorporating a few trinkets acquired on your journeys, here are 7 tips for creating a room inspired by memorable trips:

Travel Design Inspiration: Start With Souvenirs

Photo: Courtesy of Ore Studios

Start With Souvenirs
You may not have bought that magnificent hand-carved chair you saw in Morocco, but you did bring back a colorful vase. Good news: Small souvenirs are a great way to add global charm to your space without breaking the bank (or your back)! Simply placing your find on a bookshelf or coffee table will add some fun flair. But, if you’re feeling more ambitious, use the souvenir as inspiration to redesign an entire room. Pull some bold colors from the piece, like the orange on this vase, to use for accent pillows or a bright new wall color.

Travel Design Inspiration: Throw in a Textile

Photo: Courtesy of Thibaut

Throw in a Textile
Every country has a unique textile heritage, so while you’re traveling, keep an eye out for traditional fabrics! Whether you bring back a Moroccan wedding blanket, tribal rug, or French toile curtains, use them to transform a room. Like the beautiful French fabric in this space, a textile can be a lovely way to add a sense of your travels.

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In case you haven’t heard, it’s National Candy Month! However, June is quickly drawing to a close, which means there’s only 5 days left to celebrate this tasty occasion. You can either gorge on candy from your local convenience store, or you could go for a slightly different approach. In the spirit of Ogden Nash’s wise words, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,” here are 6 candy-inspired cocktail recipes for you to try:

6 Candy-Inspired Cocktails: Heath Bar Cocktail Recipe

Heath Bar Cocktail: Heath Bars are one of my personal faves, so this toffee-flavored cocktail topped with shaved chocolate looks absolutely irresistible to me! GET THE RECIPE>>

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June is Great Outdoors Month, and for good reason. These warm summer nights are begging us to get out of our homes. So, while the nights are still balmy, why not throw a movie night with the stars? No, I’m not saying you should invite Leo DiCaprio. What I mean is, move the party outside and screen movies in your own backyard! Here are a few tips for making your cinema soirée a success:

Throw an Outdoor Movie Night
Create a Display
First things first: set up your theater. DIY Network shows you exactly how to transform your backyard into an outdoor entertainment center. Renting an inflatable screen for your movie night is a great option, but you can also project the movie on a white drop cloth or large white wall.

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Who doesn’t love a good snooze in the shade? This bear in Daytona Beach, Florida certainly did (much to the homeowner’s surprise). But hey, it’s summer! Sounds like this bear has the right idea!

Here are some more outdoor sleep spots, daybeds and backyard hammocks where we think this bear (and you) would enjoy getting some shut-eye.

10 Summertime Nap Spots

Design by Anne Marie Allen

This gorgeous canopy bed will put Hammock Bear right in the thick of his natural home while still offering luxuries like soft flannel sheets. The whimsical curtains block out the sun and give him some privacy from those pesky humans!

10 Summertime Nap Spots

Design by Jamie Durie

Although this bear seems to enjoy human amenities, he’s still a bear, so we think he’d enjoy this cool hammock suspended high in the tree tops; it combines his natural tree-climbing instincts with a comfy net for napping.

10 Summertime Nap Spots

Design by Jamie Durie

When the rest of the world is starting to feel un-bear-able, this suspended hammock-daybed hybrid is the perfect place to escape. Equipped with a serene lily pond on one side and dining table on the other, what more could you need for a relaxing afternoon?

MORE BACKYARD SPOTS TO CATCH SOME ZZZs

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In honor of today’s Season 2 release of Orange Is the New Black, here are a few examples of how you can incorporate orange in your home. This vibrant color is perfect for infusing some energy into your decor. Try pairing it with my personal favorites, turquoise or aqua, for a playful accent.

So, if you need a break from your OITNB binge, peel your eyes away from Netflix and check out some of these design ideas:

Orange Really IS the New Black: How to Use Orange at Home

Top, L to R: Orange Padded Chair, Vintage Book Display, “Goldie” Sunflowers | Middle, L to R: Cocktail Cart, Orange Throw Pillows| Bottom, L to R: Eco-Chic Serving Tray, Outdoor Living Room

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