Lili Zarghami

"I buy chairs instead of expensive shoes."

Lili is Editorial Director of HGTV.com. Her personal obsessions include looking for just the right sofa, ogling real estate listings, and reading floor-plans. She has an admitted "chair problem," collecting them like most women collect shoes. Lili lives in an apartment that's perpetually too small (probably because of all the chairs) in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and young twins.

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POSTS BY Lili Zarghami

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roller blind diy

Photo: Shade, Ikea; Gold Scotch Tape, Paper Source

When I told you all about my winter break clean and purge the other week, I mentioned small changes that make your home feel more designed and loved. I needed a few of those myself. My poor bedroom often gets the least love because, honestly, I can close the door on it. I’ve had roller shades up for quite a while just to keep the early morning sun out and to give privacy. They were not my favorite, but they did in a pinch. Besides, they were supposed to just be up until I decided what to do for window treatments.

Turns out that I didn’t decide on anything and have been living with bland shades for too long. I wanted to give the shades a quick makeover without spending too much money just in case I actually do get around to buying nice curtains. We’ve done lots of washi tape tutorials and thinking of those, I began scouring my tape collection. Luckily, I had this great gold tape left over from Christmas and in five minutes I had embellished shades for exactly $0. I made a very simple double-stripe that looks polished and fun. You could make as many stripes as you like!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Decorative tape (I used a non-transparent gold but there are loads of options here)
  • Roller shade
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Measure up about an inch from the bottom of your shade. Make small pencil mark at the inch mark at 4 or 5 spots across the shade. Start applying the tape following your marks, letting the tape hang over the edge of the blind a bit. Once it’s in place, carefully trim the ends off so that they’re flush with the blind. Measure again from the top of your tape at a height that you like (I chose another inch) and  make pencil marks across the shade again. Apply your next tape stripe and trim. I  stopped here, but if you want more stripes, just repeat until you get the look you like.

And voila! You have better looking shades than you did five minutes before. The best part is if you change your mind — or find a tape you like better — you can change up your look in a cinch.

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Every year over the winter holidays I do a major purge and winter cleaning while I’m off from work. Knowing I’ll be trapped inside for much of the next few months makes me want to organize and create a more cozy, inviting home. I hit all the major areas: the living room, bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. An intense scrub-down does wonders, but there are lots of other ideas for creating order and a freshened-up look that really help, too.

If you’ve made New Year’s resolutions to organize your home I thought I’d share some of what I do and more of HGTV’s tips and tricks.

sabrina soto cleaning

Sabrina Soto shows us how it’s done.

1. Clean

First off: take advantage of any cleaning urges you get! I tackle one room at a time so a whole-house cleaning doesn’t seem too overwhelming. If for some reason you lose initiative, tackle the next room the next day. Gather everything you’ll need for cleaning in a bucket or cart. I’ve got a little cleaning caddy that holds all the sprays, cloths and sponges so I can carry it from room to room. It’s a huge help.

2. Purge!

As you’re picking up clothes, putting away all those odds and ends that pile, and stacking magazines and books, set aside the things that you haven’t used over the past few months. For me, if I didn’t (or my kids didn’t) wear a piece of clothing the previous season, out it goes! Donate any books that you know you’ll never read again. Cut out and file away the pictures from magazines that you want to keep (or find that article you love online and bookmark it) and recycle the rest. File away any bills and see if there are any old ones that can now be shredded.

3. Everything in Its Place

Once you’ve made space in your closet and cabinets and drawers, you should have some more room for what you’re going to keep. I worked in clothing stores when I was younger and still love the look of a well-folded stack of clothes. (Perfectionists can even steal the store’s trick: folding boards.) You’ll be surprised to find out how much more likely you are to keep up a nice looking closet than a messy one. I found that I am probably going to need more storage, so I’m looking at something like this media console for my bedroom. I love that it has doors to hide messier necessities.

4. Update Accessories

If you haven’t done so already, swap out some of your lighter accessories for cozy winter ones. Thick blankets, fluffy pillows, shag rugs: this is the stuff winter design is made of, so take advantage! If you want to be very of-the-moment, add Pantone’s Color of the Year to your home with a throw pillow or flower vase. Even something as simple as installing an additional towel rack in the bathroom made the difference for me. Winter white sales can also give you a chance to update your bedding to give your whole room a fresh feel.

5. Lighting

Winter blues are no joke, but you can combat them with good lighting. If you’ve got overhead lighting, adding a table lamp makes a huge difference. Believe it or not, spring lines are coming out now. While the snow falling outside may contradict the timing, brand new lighting is good any time of year. Faceted bases and metallics are still going strong. If you go for a classic shape, it’ll look good all year long.

While I’m not big on resolutions that I can’t keep, organizing my home is one that I love to have. What about you? Do you have any resolutions for your home this year? Let me know in the comments.

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happy new year!
We’re bidding farewell to 2014 and welcoming a bright, hopeful 2015 with open arms. Happy to New Year to all of you, our Design Happens friends and family. Tell us what it is you’re hoping this brand new year will bring for your home or what you’re resolving to do in the comments!

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We pride ourselves in inspiring our viewers and readers with pretty, pretty pictures of gorgeous rooms and smart ideas here at HGTV. So it’s no surprise that our Pinterest fans eat up what we share.  Some of the pics rose to the top to be the clear leaders as this year’s fan favorites. Take a look, pin for yourself, and let us know if you think these are the best – or which HGTV shots you like even better.



So what do you think? Are these the best of the best?

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hgtv hosts at the holidays

We all love watching these guys do their magic on TV, but do you ever wonder what they’re like in “real” life? I don’t know about you, but I love getting to know more about our hosts’ lives off-camera. (Stars! They’re just like us.) You’ve got to watch this adorable video where everyone from the Property Brothers to Hilary and David tell us about their favorite part of the holidays. And most importantly, where they fall on the hot chocolate vs. eggnog divide.

>>>>WATCH THE VIDEO NOW>>>>

See Who’s an Eggnog Lover

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blue room tree
Have you ever wished you could sneak behind the curtain at the White House and snoop around? Wish granted! Genevieve Gorder was given exclusive access to tour the White House while it is all dressed up for Christmas. We took tons of pictures to share with you, but don’t ask us to pick a favorite! It’s too hard. Pour a cup of hot cocoa, lean back and have a look at these stunning shots of the president and first family’s home.

michelle obama decorating cookies

First Lady Michelle Obama decorating cookies with special guests.

red room

The Red Room

state dining room

State Dining Room decor

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We’ve received entries from all over the country from architects, interior designers, builders, and remodelers who think that they have what it takes to win the 2014 Fresh Faces of Design Awards. Voting is now open and we need you to tell us which design reigns supreme. Take a look at some of the gorgeous projects we’ve received and then head on over to vote and enter for a chance to win $10,000! VOTE HERE>>>

fresh faces kitchens

Best Kitchens entry from Katy Lyons

>>>>See All the Best Kitchens Entries

fresh faces best use of color

Best Use of Color entry from Red Egg Design Group

>>>>See All the Best Use of Color Entries

fresh faces best use of pattern

Best Use of Pattern or Texture entry from SuzAnn Kletzien

>>>>See All the Best Use of Pattern or Texture Entries

fresh faces serene retreat

Best Serene Retreat entry from Sarah Barnard

>>>>See All the Best Serene Retreat Entries

Check out the rooms in all the categories including the ones above and lots more, then vote for your favorite project in each.

 

Let’s make room for good company, together. Explore fantastic ideas to create a home that’s welcoming for all.  Explore IKEA’s guide for a guest-ready home.

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Former Design Star winner and Secrets From a Stylist host Emily Henderson partnered with Sunrise Senior Living for the second year in a row to make over the room of deserving residents of the Sunrise community. If you know (and love) Emily like we do here, you’ll know that her room designs are full of life, color and style – just what a blank space needs to truly feel like home. Helen and Dominic — this year’s winners — were treated to a makeover of their home which just didn’t suit the personalities of this upbeat couple who’ve been together 67 years.

emily henderson sunrise living

Emily shared with us a bit about this stunning room refresh. She says, “The whole redesign was just so satisfying. Sunrise is a really awesome community – it kinda feels like college dorms but for seniors. Helen and Dominic were so happy and I think re-invigorated [by the makeover]. I truly believe that your happiness can be strongly effected by how much you like your home, so I’m hoping that this makeover makes every day a little bit happier for them.”

Here’s more of what Emily had to say about this project that is close to her heart:

LILI: Can you tell our readers about this heartwarming makeover? 

EMILY: I have a serious soft spot for seniors. I think they can get easily dismissed in our culture which is just insane because, A. they’ve lived a long and often challenging life and that should be respected and B. if we are lucky we’ll all be there someday. So I was very excited when Sunrise approached me to do this makeover again. It took place at a Sunrise community outside of Columbus Ohio, where Helen and Dominic live. Their son nominated them for the makeover and they were picked because they are just incredible people. Dominic was a prisoner of war for 19 months in WWII and he and Helen have been together for 67 years and have such an incredible marriage with 4 lovely children.

LZ: What was the first step in redesigning Dominic and Helen’s space?

EH: The first step is finding out what their wants and needs are. They both love gardening, the colors blue and green, Frank Sinatra, and their style was more traditional with some modern updates. So we created a mood board with elements from these and started playing around with what looks good together.

sunrise living moodboard

LZ: What was the inspiration for the color palette and design scheme?

EH: Helen really loves blues and greens (me too, obviously) so we started there. And since they both love gardening we wanted to bring a garden inspired pattern for the wallpaper so we found this floral that we loved because it wasn’t too busy and felt really fresh. So that was our ‘jumping off point’ as we say in the biz. Once we had the wallpaper then we tried to make it more masculine by bringing in some darker tones (charcoal grays and dark blues). We brought in wood tones to warm it up and to help it feel a bit more traditional.

LZ: How hard was it to incorporate the easy chairs? Was that your biggest challenge?

EH: Yeah, the “easy” chairs weren’t so easy. They are big and bulky, its true. BUT they also are extremely comfortable and practical for them so it seemed insane to replace them with anything less comfortable. We shopped around (trust me) but ultimately there was just nothing that could compare to the comfort of those chairs and that really was key in this redesign.

LZ: What was Dominic and Helen’s favorite aspect of the re-design?

EH: I think they just love how happy and fresh it feels now – and customized just for them. Oh wait, and the mini-bar. Dominic LOVES to entertain and have people over for drinks so we got him this mini-bar stocked full of fun drinks and on top of it is a music box that can play records, cd’s and hook up to iPhones.

sunrise makeover bed

If you want to check out the full makeover, before pictures, product sources, and tips on designing for seniors head over to Emily’s detailed blog post. She links to a video interview with the couple that had me tearing up and made me realize just how deserving this pair is.

sunrise makeover reveal

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Comfy sofas that look good are not exactly hard to find. There are so many furniture makers that really get that what we want when we plop down at the end of the day is a couch that not only feels good, but looks good, too. However, if you add a couple of key constraints about price and size, the field of options becomes considerably narrowed. When Kayla requested that I help her in her search for an apartment-sized sofa that worked well with a mid-century modern look, but was conventional enough to live with every day, AND cost under $700, I knew I had a tough assignment.

So for everyone who is in the camp of needing something small but really good looking, I present to you the following affordable and handsome options:
apartment sized sofas

The Chloe sofa on the left is from Macy’s and is currently on sale for $599. The sales at Macy’s come and go but the good news is they always come back around. Over the past several years, they’ve upped their furniture game and partnered with a bunch of great designers to put out some really refined looking pieces. On the right is a new classic from IKEA – the Kivik sofa. It’s actually one of the larger sofas on my list at 89″, but its proportion is right for not overwhelming a smaller space. Plus, it’s a perfect movie-watching couch.
apartment sized sofas

I’ve learned from designer Brian Patrick Flynn to always check Overstock.com when looking for pretty much anything. Chances are they’ll have something really close to what you want for a really good deal. That definitely holds true for this Signature Design sofa on the left at $679. Ditch the pillows that come with it and add some with a bright mid-century pattern and you’re all set. The loveseat on the right from West Elm is one of my all-time favorites. In fact if I had a need for another couch myself, I’d pick this Everett Upholstered Loveseat.
apartment sized sofas
An option I hadn’t considered for apartments before — but one that makes total sense now that I think of it — is a daybed. The one on the left is also from West Elm and has great mid-century modern lines. It would double as an excellent guest bed for company. Those of us who live in apartments often lament the lack of guest accommodations and this could be just the answer. It’s on sale right now, too, for $639. Last but not least is the Courtney Sofa from Target. Granted, it comes in at a fairly tiny 60″, but if you’re looking for something that’s an upgrade from a college-era futon, this is a pretty good bet. And at $499, the price is pretty hard to beat.

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When I moved into my first apartment too many years ago to admit, my stepfather gifted me with a toolbox full of all his “doubles.” Later when my brother moved to a tropical island, he handed down his steel toolbox to me and I was thrilled. I truly love my trusty tool kit and even love sorting through it to find just the right instrument for a given job. My toolbox and the tools in it are feeling their (20+ years) age, however. So I’m daydreaming about replacing everything with tools that help me make the fixes around my home and are beautiful to boot.

Not only are these tools functional, but they’re even gorgeous enough to display — maybe on a magnetic strip? I love how self-referential the wood handles are and the care that was clearly taken in designing and crafting them. But tell me: am I alone in my handylady desires? Or are you a fixer with an enviable tool set, too?

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Oh lowly trash can, where would we be without you? We would be surrounded by piles of trash, that’s where.

Silly odes to the waste bin aside, this kitchen necessity is often overlooked as an accessory that is deserving of good design. Understandably, many trash cans are made of hard plastic, straight-lined and completely unadorned (all the easier for cleaning). But for those of us who are looking for a more — dare I say? — classy trash can that you can proudly display out in the open, there are some real beauties out there:

I’ve coveted the classic Wesco Kickboy for some time, but it’s a bit of an investment piece. That hot pink (radiant orchid?) Premier Housewares bin, which I could only find available in the UK, would look dynamite in an all-white kitchen. So what do you guys think? Do these trash cans make your “want” list?

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If there ever was a product that screamed: “Please, just leave me to my function and forget my form. I’ve got a job to do!” it’s the lowly doormat. And who could blame it? Its sole purpose is to be stepped on with dirty shoes. When Briana suggested we look for some mats that were not-too-kitschy yet not too plain I knew I’d have some hunting to do. I think I’ve found some good options in a range of styles that meet the aesthetic requests and don’t shirk their function altogether:

door mats

1. Anchor West Elm; 2. Tvis round mat IKEA; 3. Wink Orange Rug; 4. Oceanstar Bamboo; 5. Branch Door mat; 6. Magical Thinking Southwest Geo Rug; 7. Turkish Doormat

I have to admit, at my own apartment, I go for pure function in my entryway. I’ve got a recycled-tire doormat that you can stand on with dripping, snowy boots and just wipe down later. However, these are all so pretty that I might reconsider my choice of pure utility leaving me, as usual, with a case of the wants.

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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.

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When I get my home to myself for an extended period of time — no kids, no husband — I tend to go on the sort of cleaning and organizing binge that a normal working mom would think was…well, excessive. Instead of lazily reading books, or going out to brunch with girlfriends, I revel in the chance to fix my apartment knowing that no one but me will mess it up.

I was telling Briana that I could see the surface of my desk for the first time in ages and that led us to searching for a filing cabinet for her that would inspire her to file her piles of papers. She’s been looking for just the right at-home desk storage for a while and she indulged my current organizing mania by letting me window shop for her.

Here’s what I found in the way of cute, modern filing cabinets to fit her bill. The only downside? Now I want new office organizers, too:

Browsing for these filing cabinets got me thinking there are loads of high-function everyday objects with less-than-high style. What everyday item or household necessities do you wish you could find prettier versions of?

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You guys. When I saw these patterned paint rollers on Buzzfeed, I felt like someone had been keeping a secret from me! How could I not know about these ingenious tools? I know we’ve talked wallpaper and wallpaper-look-alikes to death, but these rollers from the very appropriately named NotWallpaper seem like a whole different ballgame. Granted it probably takes a pretty deft hand and a bit of practice to use, but these rollers seem like the best of all worlds: lovely patterns in colors of your choice with very little permanent commitment. That’s my kind of wall treatment.

patterned paint rollers

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If you have trouble perking up in the morning, maybe what you need is a neon yellow bathtub? Granted this tub from Blu Bathworks would be a tough shade to work into most decor (it comes in other colors too), but I kind of love it. It works especially well against concrete and could turn an otherwise stark space into one that’s fun and playful. Am I crazy? Will this scream “2013″ five years from now?

neon yellow bathtub

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In middle school my best friend-at-the-time and I pooled our money, went to the mall and spent our communal allowance on a “Best Friends Forever” necklace. It was in the shape of a heart and jaggedly split down the middle. We each wore half. But the times, how they’ve changed. Best friends now can have matching iPhone cases that convey the same only-complete-together sentiment.

heart iphone cases

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  • As seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper

  • As seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper

  • As seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper

  • As seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper