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Curtains can make a room. They can add color, pattern, or texture instantly, and create an airy inviting space. They can also cost a pretty penny, but don’t have to. HGTV Magazine put together a go-to guide for fancy curtains on a budget. Check out these DIY and store-bought window treatments, and read on for all the rods and ends you’ll need to finish your new look.

5 Frugal Buys
Good-looking curtain rods and finials can be as costly as the curtains themselves. Here are some budget-minded sets.

inexpensive curtain rods

1. Umbra 28″–48″ staff drapery rod in black, $20, casa.com 2. Lincoln 28″–48″ rod in champagne silver, $27, kwikhang.com 3. Versailles Home Fashions 48″ torch rod in antique gold, $40, casa.com 4. Style Selections 28″–48″ acrylic ball rod in bronze, $20, lowes.com 5. Studio Tribeca 28″–48″ rod in Tuscan bronze, $25, jcp.com

1 Cheap Rod, 3 Ways
Spray paint the same 99-cent IKEA Räcka 28″ curtain rod three different colors, then add fun finials for a sneaky way to save!

diy curtain rods

Blue: Satin Periwinkle paint by Krylon, Skulptur finial, $5 for a set of 2, ikea.com Gold: Brown paint by Rust-Oleum Universal Hammered, Rope Ball finial, $20 for a set of 2, landofnod.com Floral: Aged Brass paint by Rust-Oleum American Accents Designer Metallic, Hand-painted amaryllis finial, $38 for a set of 2, anthropologie.com

Excerpt originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.

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Festival season is upon us! My Bonnaroo countdown for this year started the day I left Bonnaroo last year. Needless to say, I’m a bit excited. It’s hot; it’s crowded; you get zero hours of sleep, but boy, is it worth it. Before, it was all about being as comfortable and cool as possible during the festival, but now it’s just as important to look stylish and fashion-forward, thanks to festivals like Coachella. Festival fashion has become its own genre, and stores like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and American Eagle Outfitters have created pieces specifically targeted to festival-goers. So, look like a rock star in your shades and fringe while listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Summer Music Festival Fashion

Music Festival Fashion Essentials at HGTV's Design Happens Blog

1. Floppy Hat / Target
2. Cotton Maxi Dress / H&M
3. Backpack / Topman
4. Necklace / Urban Outfitters (similar)
5. Sunglasses / Ray-Ban
6. Infinity Scarf / Etsy, Necklush
7. Denim Vest / H&M
8. Floral Shorts / H&M
9. Stud Boots / Topshop
10. Chevron Cuff / gorjana

Music Festival Fashion Essentials at HGTV's Design Happens Blog

7 Ways to Look Stylish at Shows:

1. Load up on arm candy.
2. Add color and layers with a light summer scarf.
3. Keep your hair back and get ready to rock with a long-lasting fishtail braid.
4. Stay cool during the music with a free-flowing boho skirt and tank like fashionista Olivia Palermo.
5. Accessorize your hair with tassels and headwraps.
6. Or, add in some freshly-picked flowers to a loose braid.
7. Block those UV rays and look stylish at the same time with a banded sun hat.

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HGTV fans, we have a big surprise for you. One Kings Lane has paired up with HGTV to bring you all the outdoor furniture, accessories and gardening supplies you need to hop right into spring. HGTV has inspired each and every item featured in this month’s sale, so you know you’re getting our seal of approval when you purchase that polka dot pillow. The sale starts today, April 3, at 11 a.m. and ends on April 8 at 11 a.m. And listen to this: The folks at One Kings Lane are offering 30 percent off all first-time purchases (for the first 24 hours of the sale)! So, you have no reason to not buy that rug or bistro set you’ve been coveting. I mean, it’s 30 percent off! Go ahead, add it to the shopping cart.

Check out some of the incredible items you’ll find in this HGTV-curated sale at One Kings Lane. From outdoor dining and grilling supplies to lighting and gardening accessories, your outdoor space will be set for the upcoming seasons.

One Kings Lane and HGTV Spring Promotional SaleOutdoor Dining

One Kings Lane and HGTV Spring Promotional SaleBistro Set & Accessories

See More HGTV-Curated Sale Items

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For me, the best Valentine’s Day gift will arrive tomorrow — clearance chocolate.

Retailers will be in a rush to clear shelves for Easter candy so it is hands-down the best time to buy chocolate, especially the expensive brands. Discounts range from 40% to 80% off the retail price.

You can freeze chocolate for up to six months and serve it at parties or create gifts. Refined chocolate can be used in recipes for a decadent dessert. You can also melt it to make chocolate-covered strawberries when they’re at peak season this spring.

How to Freeze Chocolate: Take advantage of post-Valentine's Day  sales, then use it for parties and gifts! See how at HGTV Design Happens blog -->

There is a science to freezing chocolate. You have to adjust the temperatures slowly. The trick is to wrap it as tightly as you can (vacuum sealing works best), then place the chocolate in the fridge for several hours before putting it in the freezer. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the fridge first, then set it out at room temperature.

Whether you love to observe Valentine’s Day or not, have a Happy Chocolate Clearance Day tomorrow!

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For me, shopping is a year-round sport.

Stores drop prices and offer promotions throughout the year but knowing when and why retailers are highly motivated to clear their stock is a critical part of my buying strategy. Often stores keep old inventory when new models hit the floor but once the new year hits, retailers get aggressive about discounting and moving last year’s stock.

To that end, major appliances are typically at the lowest price point in January, with the exception of refrigerators because most new fridge models roll out in the summer.

Sub-Zero Refrigerator

The majority of furniture companies release new products twice a year — in February and August so January and July are great times to buy floor models.

I’m a big believer in shopping for off season items. For instance, now is the best time to buy air conditioners and grills. The only downside is that the selection is usually limited.

Electronics that weren’t purchased during the holidays are also deeply discounted. In fact, retailers will be running promotions for HDTVs and home theater systems for the Super Bowl.

Home Theater Room, Designed by Christopher J. Grubb

One way to take advantage of increased competition during these promotional seasons is to scour ads for deals and ask for a price match from a store that offers free delivery and installation.

I’m a pretty tough negotiator and follow the old adage that ‘it never hurts to ask.’

I don’t consider it a win unless I get at least 50% off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

Having such high bargain standards requires a great deal of research and patience but waiting for the right time to buy is always worth it.

What’s the best deal you ever scored?

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Aside from buying fresh, natural foods, there are other reasons you should check out your local farmers’ market. Visiting Knoxville’s outdoor farmers’ market is one of my favorite fall pastimes. I can purchase items I don’t normally find at the store, and I’m helping out the local farming community. Plus, it’s fun! Some of my favorite finds include: challah bread, cage-free eggs and an assortment of jams.

Farmer's Market Bread

The smell of bread and sweets always draws me to the market. Many of the vendors even offer recipes.

Cruze Farm Stand

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First, let me start you off with two quotes:

  • “Men I may not know, but shoes, shoes I know.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
  • “The best way to a woman’s heart is through her sole.” – Anonymous

So true, so true. I love shoes in every style, shape and color. (My desktop background is even an image of vintage shoes from Designlovefest.) And each week or two when I add a new pair to my tiny closet, I imagine I’ll one day have my dream Carrie Bradshaw closet to display each and every one. With the DIY trend spreading into the fashion world, I may need that extra-large closet sooner than I thought.

DIY Designer Shoes - BurberryBurberry-Inspired Embellished Heels

Recently, fashionistas on a budget started buying regular heels and giving them a handmade touch with paint or embellishments to turn them into designer favorites for much, much less. Check out some of the best DIY designer-inspired heels we’ve found on the web.

More DIY Designer-Inspired Heels

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One of the really great things about my job is the chance to preview new products before they make it to stores. Usually it’s a candle or pillow but every now and again it’s something unexpected but totally fun — like these pet costumes from Target!

While I don’t exactly plan on taking my pups trick-or-treating, I couldn’t resist dressing them up for fun. Target’s expanded their already (super!) adorable selection for 2012 so if you haven’t considered decking out your dog before – this may be the year.

Here’s my little girl, Sophie, modeling one of the new costumes that just hit the shelves. She’s a 3-year old Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle) and, as you can tell, she’s pretty jazzed to be mommy’s little piggy:Sophie in her pig Halloween costume

 Not to be outdone, Madeline, my 9-year-old Bichon Frise, strutted her stuff as a cheerleader: Madeline in cheerleader costume

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Have $20,000 laying around? If so, this Hammacher Schlemmer tree house would make for a great back-to-school gift for your kids. Since it’s such a large purchase, maybe you could just save it for Christmas?

Log Cabin Tree Lodge

Do I have you yelling, “Yeah, right!” yet?

OK OK, calm down. Perhaps this is a fantasy purchase for most parents, but still — it’s pretty amazing. Can you even imagine how your little tykes would react to something like this?

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I discovered DwellStudio bedding a decade ago by stumbling into one of those perks of living in New York City: the sample sale. At the time I’d never spent more than $30 on a set of sheets (thank you Ikea!), but I immediately knew that this bedding, with its not-your-mom’s patterns and material quality, would be an investment I wouldn’t regret.

dwellstudio entrance christiane lemieux

Look at those ram door pulls! And right: Christiane Lemieux

Now, more than ten years later, the company is opening its first flagship store in SoHo. Founder and Creative Director Christiane Lemieux has expanded the DwellStudio line to include furniture, home accessories, baby and children’s furnishings, along with their bedding staples. I got a chance to preview their new space and see their line of furniture in person for the first time. Such a treat!

dwellstudio bedding and textiles

Bedding display on shelves painted the perfect shade of slate gray.

The store feels as if you’ve stepped into someone’s very well curated home with vintage finds mixed in among the company’s line of modern products. I am still gaga for the bedding and can attest to its resilience over time. That first set I invested in still looks as fresh today as it did in 2001. It would even work well with any of the newer patterns. The sofas are luxurious and classically neutral enough to play well with pieces you already own.  The baby and children’s line is darling without being saccharine. But most impressive to me was the wall of DwellStudio fabrics which seem to have been designed to let you mix patterns like a pro despite not actually being one.

dwellstudio furniture

I couldn't fit this sofa in my bag, but I tried.

If you’re in New York, or plan to be, you can check out the store yourself starting today. Tell me in the comments if you have any designers that you still love after all these years.

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I’m a self-confessed Justin Timberlake fan and have been since the 90s – you know, the ‘N Sync days? So, when I heard that Justin was teaming with celebrity stylist and interior designer Estee Stanley to launch HomeMint, a collection of home goods and art, I kind of freaked out, naturally.

Justin is an international artist, style icon and entrepreneur, and now, he’s officially marching into the design world as HomeMint’s designer and curator. It may seem like unlikely territory, but to him it feels natural. “HomeMint combines my love of architecture and interior design with my passion for technology and social media to create a brand that offers aspirational designs for the home at accessible prices,” he says.

homemint justin timberlake estee stanleyJustin Timberlake, designer/curator of HomeMint

Justin and Estee designed some of the pieces in the collection and curated others, seeking inspiration from European design and blends of different styles of architecture. The collection, that officially launched today, features everything from bohemian throw pillows and ceramic storage jars to Thonet dining chairs and Indian Ikat hand-tufted rugs. The exclusivity and uniqueness of many of these products are where Justin and Estee’s expertise is evident.

At today’s launch event at The Mercer Hotel in New York City, the two discussed the line’s look and feel, having both male and female curators. Justin certainly brings a level of masculinity to the collection, although feminine elements still remain intact. While Estee finds the masculinity apparent through the dinnerware and throws, Justin thinks the collection’s layering presents his strongest influence but adds: “There’s nothing like a woman’s touch to a home.”

So, I’ve already picked out a few of my favorite HomeMint items. (Well done, JT. Well done.) What I love most is how unique each item feels, along with the European flair. They’re all right on trend, but still feel like they could last in your home for ages.

homemint justin timberlake home goods pillowsSpeckled silk pillow in orange and pink (top); Jacobean print pillow in orange (bottom)

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley artwork sage vaughnArtwork: New Wave by Sage Vaughn

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley antique rugsAntique Russian hand-woven rug (top); Antique Moroccan hand-tufted rug (middle); Turkish hand-knotted rug (bottom)

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley decorative skullsDecorative brass (left) and silver (right) skulls

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley celadon vase ironwood snake accessoriesCeladon carved vase with cover; Large and small ironwood snakes

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley tarascon dishwareHand-woven Moroccan basket; Tarascon cereal bowl and mug; Blonde hickory cutting board

HomeMint shoppers can purchase these products at non-member pricing or pay a monthly membership fee of $9.99. Members receive exclusive pricing, early-bird access to limited edition items and a personalized showroom of products each month, matched to their particular style.

Check out the brand-new collection and let us know what you think. Are you surprised by Justin’s taste? Were you expecting the pieces to be different? Let us know in the comments below.

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It’s that time of year again — when you show your mom how much you appreciate her. Since Mother’s Day is approaching (and since I’m in a good mood), I thought I would share more than one delight today to help you pick the right gift.

For the mom with a green thumb: Your mom won’t need much of a green thumb to keep this tillandsia plant by Terrain alive. The kit includes everything you need from the actual plant to the tear drop glass.

Tillandsia Plant

For the culinary mom: If your mom loves to cook and appreciates a nice bouquet of flowers, then this kitchen utensil bouquet by AlwaysFits.com would be a great gift to give. The set comes with all the essential utensils a cook needs, and you can display it as a bouquet on the counter when it isn’t in use. So clever.

Kitchen Utensil Bouquet

 

For the eco-friendly mom: This patterned compact tote bag by Blue Avocado is an eco-friendly way for your mom to carry her lunch. It comes in different colors and is made with recycled materials. I may have to add this to my own wish list.

Eco-Friendly Tote Bag

For the tea-loving mom: If your mom loves iced tea, then this cafe-style iced tea brewer by Olive and Cocoa is the ultimate gift. You make the hot tea in the top pitcher and pour it over ice into the bottom pitcher for freshly made iced tea. Tea never looked or tasted so good!

Iced Tea Brewer

And to really top off your mom’s special day, throw her a memorable, elegant brunch. Do you have any special plans for your mother this year? Tell us in the comments below.

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When Blu Dot was first starting out, they got their logo design in exchange for building a custom treehouse. So you might say that the company was founded on an ethos of swapping. Which is lucky for the rest of us, because BluDot is having another virtual Swap Meet, starting today!

swap meet logo

The poster states “All reasonable trades considered,” and they’re not kidding. They’re seeking talents, devices, oddities, tasks, taxidermy, collections, crafts and whatnot in exchange for their gorgeous modern chairs, sofas, lamps and more. Last year there were tons of artistic and eccentric bids accepted, like a spork collection and a secret handshake. It’s got me wondering if I can parlay something like my grandmother’s treasured green chili recipe into that Lily Pad Coffee Table I had my eye on!

five swaps on bludot swap meet

How about you? What would you trade for some Blu Dot goodies?

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Everything’s coming up Seuss! Today is the 108th birthday anniversary of Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), and also marks Read Across America Day and the opening of the 3D-CG Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax movie in theaters. Do you like Seuss in a book? Would you like it as a look?* Check out this sweet Seuss suite from the Loews Portofino Bay hotel in Orlando.

Though my Internet research hints that these rooms may have been converted to other family-fun themes recently, you can carry Seuss style into your own kids’ room with a few simple elements. Start with a color scheme of crisp white accented by bold primary colors, as in these Seuss-like designs. Feeling artsy? You can try painting the classic characters on the walls, but no one would blame you if you went with these easy Dr. Seuss decals instead. Whimsical furniture that’s just a little off-balance is a must. Top it all off with super-cute Seuss bedding and accessories, and your kids will feel as though they’ve stepped into the pages of their favorite book.

*(I’m sorry, but it’s mandatory that all references to Dr. Seuss contain some Green Eggs and Ham rhyming.)

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A good thrift store becomes a great thrift store when you can maximize your spending power. Discount days are perfect for getting more bang for your buck.

Some stores run daily or weekly sales. Often times, sale items are identified by color tags. I find it difficult to keep up with the ever changing sale days and colors, so I have a notebook to write down which days have which colors and what percentage off I can expect.
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We’ve done a lot of work on our apartment recently, but one area that regrettably remains untouched are the closets. And they are a horror show. (When I say I have skeletons in my closet, I mean literally — the Martha Stewart skeletons that I use as Halloween decor keep falling out of my hall closet when I open it. And don’t get me started on the nightmare that’s barely containing my wardrobe.) So, when I spotted this “closet” in the Australian retail store Green With Envy, that is what I turned.

david hicks closet

Designer David Hicks (not that David Hicks, this David Hicks) gave this dressing room area all the touches I’d dream of if I had a walk-in closet of my own: Art Deco lines, a sophisticated-yet-decidedly-feminine color scheme, a dramatic display rack of clothes and comfortable seating. Shopping usually feels like a bit of a chore to me, but I’d try on tons of togs if it meant spending time here.

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So, The Twelve Days of Christmas actually start ON Christmas Day (or at least that’s what Wikipedia tells me), but I’m gonna try something a little different here and kinda do a countdown with the famous carol leading up to Christmas. And in keeping with my own interpretation of the chronology, I’m also going to get a bit less-than-literal with the gift recommendations. Starting with this whole “partridge in a pear tree” affair.

partridge pear tree

I think a pear tree sounds lovely (mmm, pear tarts!) and partridge a bit less so, but honestly, not many people have room for either these days. That’s why I think these cool retro brass partridge figurines and Jonathan Adler graphic pear pillow make a pleasant alternative. If my true love showed up with these, I wouldn’t regift them, is what I’m trying to say.

 

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I haven’t even started thinking about doing my holiday gift shopping yet, but I’m not worried because along with our own excellent gift guide on HGTV.com, I’ve got an ace up my sleeve. That ace is called Svpply. If you’re not already familiar with it, think of Svpply like Pinterest, but for products. It’s tempting to call it a “social shopping site,” although I think the better way to describe it is a “retail bookmarking and recommendations” site with a clean, minimalistic design. You create an account, and drag the “Buy Later” bookmarklet into your browser’s toolbar. Now when you search the shopping sites you love and spot something you want to remember, you can click the “Buy Later” button, briefly describe the item, and it gets clipped and saved to your Svpply.

svpply

This is handy enough, but there’s also a social element. You can follow friends, stores, or even strangers with great taste, to see which products they’ve added to their accounts. Not to mention that there are features that allow you to see the trending products across the site and Svpply’s own Editor’s Pick. Best of all for this time of year are the gift guides, broken down by price point and type of product, and the new ability to make a set of items (like a Pinboard) — say, “In-Law Gift Ideas” — and either keep the set private (good if the people you’re shopping for are also on Svpply) or mark it public to share with other users (like I plan to do with my own wish list, hint hint). Svpply’s always been handy for my Daily Delight design spotting, but I think it might just make me the best Secret Santa of all time.

Are you on Svpply, or are you planning to join? If so, leave your user name in the comments! Happy gift hunting, all.

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It’s party season! If you are planning on attending holiday parties this year, be sure not to show up empty handed. I’ve compiled 10 Fabulous Gift Ideas for the Hostess to share with you. These are easy to find, easy to order or just might inspire you to find something similar. Let’s start with edible gifts. Sweets and treats are abundant this time of year and they are especially great when they come with pretty packaging. Baking yourself? Buy cute plates like the elf one and present your goodies on the plate.

english toffee cratehot chocolatejingle elf platescaramel peanut bark

I always love personalized gifts! Think ahead and order monogrammed gifts for any upcoming events you are attending. The monogrammed mugs can be filled with candy, treats or a gift card and wrapped with cellophane and ribbon for a perfect hostess gift.

emma mugfern in burlapmonogrammed soap

Delight your hostess with scented candles or body products. She’ll need the stress relief once the party is over!

parties for hosting, holiday candlesstress relief

What do you usually bring when you attend a holiday party? Tell me in the comments below! I would love to hear your ideas.

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While I sometimes enjoy thrifting alone, going with a friend can be a whole lot better.

'i <3 thrifting" day 2011

Shopping with a buddy gives you an opportunity to get a second opinion right on the spot about an item.

What’s I Heart Thrifting Day?

Of course, this will only work if you value that person’s opinion, so make sure your friend is one you trust. You need someone who can even be truthful and let you know when you don’t need something, too.

"i <3 thrifting" day 2011

Small groups are an excellent way to cover more ground a a very large flea market. Put together a list of what everyone is seeking and you can easily text or send a quick picture if you find something on the list.

"i <3 thrifting" day 2011

How great is it to smile with a friend about one of your awesome scores or share thoughts on the seller whose prices were sky high?

So what are your perks for having a thrifting buddy or group?

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