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As much as I have savored every second of the hot summer sun, I can’t help but get excited for the fast-approaching fall. With the recent onslaught of pumpkin everything — literally everything — and the early inklings of grocery store Halloween candy isles, I have already started my annual love-affair with fall and harvest decor.

Of course, a few sporadically placed porch gourds are never enough, but it is also super easy to go overboard. With fall decorating, the more-is-more approach will leave you with a gaudy stoop and a truck load of rotten pumpkins. Subtle, simple accents that evoke the harvest feel keep you out of kitschy territory. For those like me who already have their Halloween costumes picked out — I’ve gathered up a few interesting new decorating ideas that give your home some seasonal spice without the tacky aftertaste.

Sweater Candle
I have no idea why your candles would be cold, but dress them up in sweaters anyway. Use old sweater remnants to make candle cozies; they are perfect for adding that comfy-cozy feel we love during the season. Camilla Fabbri adds simple leaf accents to hers for a hint of nature.

Wheat
You don’t have to be gluten-free for this one, just gather a few uniform wheat stalks and bundle them with twine, yarn, or anything rustic. This neutral accent goes well on a mantel or any vignette to create a hearty, autumnal feel. Learn how with these simple step-by-step instructions.

Shiny Pumpkins
Forget those tired old orange pumpkins and forge your own from precious metals. Just kidding — find varying shapes and sizes of pumpkins and paint them in your choice of metallic hues — it is a great way to add some always-welcomed glam. Personally, I feel as though mixing gold, silver and copper makes for a more eclectic look. Copper will also add a tinge of orange to this idea. Get the step-by-step instructions here.

Leaf Centerpiece
Centerpieces that sit on the table are so last season. For fall, do something special and scrap the centerpiece for something slightly more vertical — a mobile. What better way to channel the whimsy of fall than autumn-hued leaves dancing above you during dinner? Learn how to make your own, with real or faux leaves, here.

Putka Wreath
Make a tiny pumpkin wreath! I bet your mind is exploding right now by the thought of gathering up 1,000,000 tiny pumpkins. They are actually Putka pods: natural seed pods that look like munchkin pumpkins. The best thing about this pumpkin-centered theme idea is that the dried pods will keep for many years, so you can just store it away until next year. See how to make yours here.

So don’t let me be the only one planning ahead; take some of these ideas and get your house in the mood for Apple Cider and Pumpkin Pie — I just made myself hungry — with some of these nifty, new fall ideas.

I’m sure you guys have some of your own harvest-holiday hacks. Please share them with us on our Pinterest page! Tell us what your decorating plans are for the season, or just dish on what you’re tired of seeing.

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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.

MORE COLOR PSYCH 101

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It’s no secret that I’m the resident cat lover here at HGTV.com. Don’t get me wrong, I adore dogs. But when I adopted my four-year-old cat, D’Artagnan, I became enamored by these sassy, independent animals. As someone who was raised with canines, I’m still figuring out my cat’s unique personality every day. I’ll tell you this, though: I’ve raised one cuddly cat.

But, as all pet owners know, creating a pet-friendly home is a key element to your pet’s happiness and your sanity. Here are some ways you can keep your home chic, stylish and comfy for your pets, too.

Get More: 12 Tips for Pet-Friendly Decorating

Cat on Bed

Buy washable fabrics. Pets have accidents. It’s just part of it. So, protect your bed by using duvet covers, cotton bed sheets and other durable fabrics that can be washed regularly.

Slipcovered Sofas

Slipcovers FTW! Until you’ve deterred Fluffy from using your beloved sofa as a scratching post, a durable slipcover will definitely do the trick. You can also look into purchasing a sofa made of Ultrasuede, a stain-resistant, machine-washable microfiber your cat will adore.

Living Chic + Happy With Your Pets

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Wow, that was some kind of crazy winter, right?! For those of you still suffering through the winter that just won’t die — my humblest apologies — but for those of us in warmer climes: Yay, spring’s here! And, for me, the arrival of spring means it’s time to head outside, scissors in hand, to find any early bloomers that I can bring inside to brighten things up.

First to flower in my backyard is hellebore  (a.k.a. lenten rose). Their heavy, droopy blooms on short stems are best displayed in a vase with a small opening. Here, I have them in what looks like an expensive Wedgwood vase but it’s actually an old Avon bottle that I found at an estate sale for the irresistible price of … wait for it … 10 cents!: Spring Hellebores in an Old Blue Vase

Joining the hellebore in their winter-banishing crusade are tiny, delicate crocus placed in an antique salt shaker:
Spring Flowers on a Bedroom Nightstand

The cardinals that have reigned unchallenged in my backyard this winter have been joined by a variety of other birds, including robins. I love the idea of using bird’s nests as a spring decoration but would never want to deprive some poor bird of their handmade home so I simply DIY-ed my own bird’s nest complete with tiny robin’s eggs. You can make one too while watching your favorite show. Get crafting with my step-by-step instructions>> How to Make a DIY Bird's Nest for Spring

You can make your nest any size you like — even big enough to act as an Easter basket: Handmade Bird's Nest as an Easter Basket

This is also the perfect time of year to force a branch to bloom indoors. Good candidates for this include fothergilla, witch hazel, Bradford pear, cherry, quince, redbud, lilac and my favorite: forsythia. Here’s what the forsythia branches in my backyard looked like when I cut them; the buds were just beginning to swell: Forsythia Branches Just Breaking Into Bud

And here they are just 1 week later, adding a happy shot of color to my living room:Cut Forced Forsythia as a Spring Arrangement

 Are you as ready for warmer weather as I am? How will you spring-up your rooms?

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The holidays may be over, but we still have months of harsh winter weather left to endure (unless you’re one of those fortunate people that live in a nice, warm climate). Don’t let freezing temperatures get you down! Check out these eight winter decorating and entertaining ideas you can enjoy throughout the season.

Bundle Up Your Bedroom With Texture + Metallics

Winter Bedroom Design

See the Photos: A Sophisticated Bedroom Fit for Winter Guests >>

Throw an Unexpected Outdoor Party

Host a Winter Party

See the Photos: Host a Wintertime Picnic in the Park >>

More Fresh Winter Design Trends

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I actually experienced my first heartbreak a few years ago when I fell head over heels for a flawless, hand-dyed Chesterfield sofa. Once I discovered the price, I knew it would be years before we would be together. As a lifestyle editor, this kind of heartache is hardly rare; I see beautiful furnishings every single day that I’d love to get my hands on but can’t. Luckily, stylish and budget-savvy gal Sabrina Soto, host of The High/Low Project, has scouted the trendiest pieces of the season and found their lovely — and wallet-friendly — counterparts. From cutting boards and pendant lighting to area rugs and throw pillows, Sabrina has found an affordable match for your favorite designer pieces.

Entryway

High Low Area Rugs

Company C | Rugs USA

Welcome guests this holiday season with a colorful, ornate area rug. The intricate pattern on the companyc.com rug drives the price up to $515 (left). But this similar botanical wool rug from rugsusa.com features less detail, making it a beautiful price of $168 (right).

Living Room

High Low Coffee Tables

DWR | CB2

For those who can’t get enough of marble, here’s a sleek coffee table you’re going to love. Splurge on the Italian marble-top table with a stainless steel frame for $900 at dwr.com (left), or save yourself some dough and opt for gray-veined marble at a third of the cost ($329) from cb2.com (right).

Kitchen

High Low Pot Racks

Cuisinart, Mauviel | Walmart, Calphalon

Culinary pros will love easy access from a hanging pot rack and the stunning copper and stainless-steel pans. The only true difference between the high and low pot racks is the chain links. Splurge on the stainless steel cusinart.com pot rack for $160 (left), or go for the similar buy at walmart.com for just $66 (right). For a 10-piece M’150s copper and stainless steel cookware set from mauviel.com, you’re going to pay $1,985 (left). But, if you go for the Tri-Ply copper and stainless steel 10-piece set from calphalon.com, you’ll save more than $1,500 (right).

More High/Low Ideas

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Often short on space and storage, small apartments can present a long list of challenges. Chicago-based interior designers Shea Soucie and Martin Horner of Soucie Horner, Ltd. know even cramped spaces can live larger than they really are. “To us, timelessness, elegance and luxury are musts — regardless of square footage,” Martin says. “The greatest luxury of all is to feel embraced by your surroundings, which is easier to accomplish in a small space anyway,” Shea says.

Read on for Shea’s and Martin’s space-stretching ideas:

Use Mirrors to Visually Increase Space

Kitchen Backsplash

Design by Soucie Horner, Ltd.

Utilize mirrors to bounce light, reflect views and instantly enlarge the feel of any space. Lean an oversize mirror against the wall opposite your front door to create drama and visually expand your entryway. Boost your kitchen’s glamour quotient by installing a mirrored backsplash, or line the insides of glass-front kitchen cabinets with mirror.

Opt for Sleek Furnishings

Mid Century Modern Living Room

Design by Sarah Richardson

Steer clear of skirted sofas and bulky coffee tables in the living room. Instead, opt for sleek furnishings with open bottoms and slender legs to create an airy mood.

READ ON FOR MORE TIPS

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If you’ve been following D-Happ for a while now, then you know that each quarter a group of uber-talented design students live and breathe the HGTV brand as a part of our Home Studio co-op program. While the up-and-coming designers are here, they work closely with experts like Vern Yip to create stunning and interactive design vignettes for employees and visitors right here at HGTV Headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn. This summer, returning intern Justin DiPiero from Savannah College of Art and Design, worked with SCAD graduate student Alexandra Kern and University of Cincinnati student Catherine Blubaugh on a vignette covering a spectrum of design trends (seven to be exact). Plus, each one features their iconic piece: the Wishbone Chair. Take a look, and see if you think their trend picks are on target.

HGTV Home Studio Interns

HGTV Home Studio interns Catherine Blubaugh, Justin DiPiero and Alexandra Kern

Kayla Kitts for Design Happens: In the past, the Home Studio displays have focused on one design trend. What inspired you to choose seven trends to showcase this time?

Justin DiPiero: Once we had decided to showcase the iconic Wishbone Chair designed by Hans Wegner, we were inspired by how versatile the chair really is. It can work in so many spaces and so many situations. That’s why we decided to create different vignettes, each with their own trend, to speak to the versatility of the chair.

Catherine Blubaugh: We felt that there were so many relevant trends that interested us that it was hard to just narrow it down into one. It also helped strengthen the idea that the Wishbone Chair is very versatile.

Alexandra Kern: As Justin and Catherine said, the Wishbone Chair truly was the inspiring factor that led us to showcase seven completely different designs trends. We decided what better way to showcase this than presenting the Wishbone Chair in seven different colors and finishes in seven different design trends. Plus, there are currently so many great design trends — how could we choose just one?

KK: Is there one trend in particular that you feel is especially hot right now or will peak as we move into fall?

CB: I would have to say that I’ve been seeing more animal-inspired spaces at the moment. The warmness and textural quality of that trend is becoming more popular as the autumn season approaches. Also, I’m seeing the patterns and colors of the future botanical display showing up more and more.

AK: As I’ve been watching TV, flipping through magazines and roaming the internet, I keep seeing our design trends pop up everywhere! It’s hard to say exactly what’s hot right now, but I think geometrics are definitely making their way to the forefront of design through pillows and accessories along with florals. And, of course, I think animal print is here to stay for awhile.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW + SEE THEIR DESIGNS

Featured
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So, you’re throwing a “sayonara to summer” party this Labor Day weekend. You probably have ice, fruit and salsa ingredients on your list, but what about the key components like set-up, atmosphere and activities? It doesn’t need to be stressful and complicated, but there are a few essentials or extras (see: lounging poolside) to keep in mind before inviting friends and family over.

Dining: Places to Sit When You’re Not Being a Social Butterfly

Party-Ready Outdoor Space

Party-Ready Outdoor Space

Party-Ready Outdoor Spaces

MORE: 13 Party-Ready Outdoor Spaces

THROW THE PERFECT LABOR DAY PARTY

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Living in a rental is convenient; you have an on-call maintenance staff, landscaping is handled, amenities are included and, if you’re lucky, water isn’t an additional expense. I currently rent a downtown loft and since it’s in a historic building, my restrictions are a bit different. It’s difficult to make a “house” a home when you’re limited in what you can change. What if you despise the paint color but can’t paint? There are plenty of ways to make a temporary space, whether it’s an apartment or dorm room, feel settled.

Up-and-coming interior designers Allison Hennessy and Nick Olsen share their top tips for making a rental feel more homey, while still getting back your deposit in the end.

Add Bold Built-Ins

Easy Decorating Tips for Renters at HGTV's Design Blog

While some apartments come equipped with beautiful built-ins, others can be more lifeless. Olsen says: “To add intrigue and make the space feel like it was built just for you, add your own built-ins without damaging walls.” One way to do this, he advises, is by adding two tall bookshelves that reach to nearly the top of the ceiling on either side of a doorway. To make them pop, try painting them in a bold color, such as high-gloss black, burnt orange or Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year, Emerald green.

Make Over Your Walls

Easy Decorating Tips for Renters at HGTV's Design Blog

Photo courtesy of WallPops by Brewster Home Fashions

“The simplest and least expensive way to enhance your rental’s architecture (or lack of) is by revamping the walls,” says Hennesey. One way to make over rental walls is with peel-and-stick wall art.

“As the wall decor isn’t permanent, it provides an opportunity to go bold. I particularly like stripes, especially for a foyer or hallway.  For a fun metallic accent to add to a space, I like WallPops by Jonathan Adler in a fresh grey, white and gold design.”

GET MORE EXPERT TIPS + TRICKS

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