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More than just a place to wipe your feet, the doormat is also your home's chance to make a good first impression. From playful to polished, these designs will elevate any entryway.
Based on a 1920s pictogram, the graphic Animal doormat (gnr8.biz) will make you smile every time you come home (also available in a hare shape).
The two-tone Coir doormat (stacksandstacks.com) resembles a Rothko, if the artist had worked in doorway cork instead of oil paint.
The cheerful Spots doormat (chiasso.com) will never fade, thanks to its eco-friendly coconut fiber.
Available in 25 colors (Fern Green is shown), the woven polypropylene Cape Cod doormat (brookstone.com) grabs mud and dirt, and then rinses clean with a blast of the garden hose.
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The sky may not be the limit when you're choosing a paint color for the ceiling, but you can opt for something other than white, as long as it's a pale, pleasing hue. Here are our favorite colors (homedepot.com/marthastewart) for overhead.
From top: Love-in-a-Mist re-creates the serenity of a clear blue sky.
Ballet Slipper Pink reflects light to make everyone's complexion more beautiful.
Rice Paper transforms even a natural-light-deprived room into a space that feels sunny.
Spring Melt complements a range of wall colors and lends an extra level of sophistication.
Morning Fog has just enough lavender to make it subtly cheerful without being cloying.
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Easy Embellishments: Piped Pillow
Sometimes in decorating, the quickest way to get exactly what you want is to make it yourself. With these simple DIY adornments, you can turn basic pillows, tablecloths, lampshades, and even jars into statement-making pieces, custom fit for your decor. All you need are a few basic supplies (including a hot-glue gun and elbow grease) and less than an hour -- in some cases, only 10 minutes.
Piped Pillow: Cut strips of fabric on the bias, and then sew them together, end to end, making a piece long enough to go around your pillow. Following the directions on the package of Wrap 'n Fuse piping (clover-usa.com), iron the strip onto the cord. Pin the strip between the two pieces of fabric cut out for your pillow cover, and then sew as you usually would.
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Easy Embellishments: Chalkboard-Paint Jars
Chalkboard-Paint Jars: For full coverage, paint tins with two coats of chalkboard paint (domesticabode.com). For striped jars, mark off the desired area with masking tape, and apply two coats of paint. Peel off tape when paint is dry. To make circles (or other graphic elements) on a jar, cut stencils for shapes from Mask-Ease vinyl sticker (dickblick.com), peel off backing, adhere, and apply two coats of paint to the cut-out area. Peel sticker off jar when paint is dry.
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Easy Embellishments: Trimmed Lampshade
Trimmed Lampshade: Arrange trim in the desired pattern on a flat surface. Wherever the trim overlaps (as with each intersection of the filigrees pictured), adhere it with a dot of glue from a hot-glue gun. Let dry. Then glue the design to the lampshade, dotting glue every few inches and pressing the trim down as you go.
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Easy Embellishments: Ribbon Runner
Ribbon Runner: Make guidelines on the runner with a ruler and a disappearing-ink fabric pen. Following heat settings on package directions, iron Heat 'n Bond Ultrahold Fuse (purlsoho.com) to ribbon. Then iron the ribbon to the runner with steady, even pressure. The result will be permanent -- and machine washable.
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Homekeeping Helpers: EZ Glides
Take cleaning and maintenance to the next level with this specialist's kit.
Martha sticks EZ Glides (ezglides.com) surface protectors on the bottoms of chair legs, lamps, and anything else that might scratch or scrape.
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Homekeeping Helpers: Lintless Cotton Gloves
Lintless cotton gloves (bhphotovideo.com) help you sidestep smudges when polishing silver and stemware.
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Homekeeping Helpers: Cedar Blocks
Freshen clothes and repel moths with cedar blocks (woodlore.com). When their scent weakens, sand them slightly to bring out their aroma.
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Homekeeping Helpers: Acid-Free Tissues
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Homekeeping Helpers: Tri-Leg Ironing Station
The Deluxe Tri-Leg ironing station (polder.com) is extra wide -- terrific for tablecloths -- and has an iron rest and a lower shelf.
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Homekeeping Helpers: "Homekeeping Handbook"
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Homekeeping Helpers: Microfiber Cloths
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Homekeeping Helpers: Contour Spray Bottle
A contour spray bottle (containerstore.com) with volume scales and a wide mouth is a must for mixing homemade all-purpose cleansers.
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Homekeeping Helpers: Stainless Steel Milking Pail
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Homekeeping Helpers: Scrub Brush
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Best Imports: Enamel Thermometers
The world is at your fingertips, thanks to websites that let you enjoy great international design. Basicfrenchonline.com, manufactum.com, and muji.us deliver home products with distinctly charming foreign accents -- French, German, and Japanese, respectively. The goods available are as varied as the countries they come from, but we love them for what they have in common: simplicity, practicality, and beauty.
Enamel thermometers (basicfrenchonline.com, in 8 colors) will raise your spirits, even if it's 10 below.
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Best Imports: Iron Doorbell
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Best Imports: Stackable Box
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Beyond Basics Bedding
These soft and sumptuous sheets, quilts, and blankets may invite a good night's sleep, but their delicate patterns and textures are anything but a snooze.
34. Bamboo-cotton 300-count bedding (thecompanystore.com) is ultra soft, with a nice hit of texture.
35. The subtle block print on the Jala Khaki duvet (johnrobshaw.com) mixes easily with other patterns.
36. The fun, updated polka dot on the Henny Cirkel bedding (ikea.com) is great in a kid's room.
37. Fair warning: The plush Eileen Fisher Crushed Silk quilt (garnethill.com) may make it hard to get out of bed.
38. A Glacier National Park blanket (pendleton-usa.com) is as cozy as it was more than 100 years ago.
39. Handmade in Maine, the wool Winter blanket (swansislandblankets.com) will last a lifetime -- or two.
40. The all-cotton Herringbone weave blanket (brahmsmount.com) is an ideal weight for Indian summer.
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Every room deserves great art, no matter what your taste or budget. The New York Public Library (digitalgallery.nypl.org) has centuries' worth of affordable prints, from 16th-century botanicals to 20th-century fashion illustrations.
The Smithsonian's prints (smithsonianimages.si.edu) focus on American history and landscapes.
Eric Beare (ebeare.com), in addition to custom work, creates decorative art, above, inspired by nature.
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Tech for the Home
The iHandy Carpenter iPhone app (itunes.com) turns your phone into a surprisingly accurate ruler and level.
The CameraBag iPhone app (itunes.com) turns out high quality photos from your phone.
Will this paint look good with that flooring? Find out before you purchase anything by using the Home Depot: Home Inspiration Tool (homeinspiration.homedepot.com). It lets you see how various combinations will look executed in an entire room.
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Which places are always on our decorating editors' to-do lists? These New York- and Los Angeles-area shops and shows, which offer a wealth of great finds, are marked with multiple stars and underlines.
East Coast: The owner of New York City's John Rosselli Antiques and Decorations (johnrosselliantiques.com) displays antiques he has picked from around the world in lovely vignettes.
West Coast: A Los Angeles landmark, Hollyhock, left (hollyhockinc.com) offers a covetable mix of 18th- and 19th-century pieces and new furnishings by decorator and shop owner Suzanne Rheinstein.
East Coast: Wyeth (wyethome.com), in New York City, is a midcentury mecca, full of pristine streamlined sideboards and industrial lighting.
West Coast: Los Angeles shop Blackman Cruz (blackmancruz.com) mixes pieces from all eras with quirky objects (Cubist kangaroos, Ottoman Empire lanterns).
East Coast: Iron Chippendale benches and Asian pottery are among the highlights of New York decorator Bunny William's shop, Treillage (treillageonline.com).
West Coast: Offering plants and furniture, Inner Gardens (innergardens.com) has outfitted some of Los Angeles's most impressive green spaces.
East Coast: It's a bit out of the way, but Brimfield (qhma.com), held three times a year in Massachusetts, abounds with high-end antiques and affordable collectibles that make the trek worthwhile.
West Coast: On the third Sunday of every month, savvy treasure hunters flock to the Long Beach Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market (longbeachantiquemarket.com), with more than 800 dealers.
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Modern Tea Party Accessories
As every little girl knows, half the fun of a tea party is setting the table. Our ensemble mixes traditional floral pieces with sleek porcelain and glass touches. Add some strong tea and good friends, and start sipping.
A recent reissue of an iconic piece created by designer Eva Zeisel in 1952, the Classic Century teapot (crateandbarrel.com) doubles as sculpture between pours.
Citrus and vanilla infuse Prince Vladimir black tea (us.kusmitea.com), a blend that a Russian teahouse has been making for more than a century.
Colorful macaroons (bouchonbakery.com) from chef Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery are sweet additions that look like decoration.
Available in three sizes, the porcelain Martha Stewart Whiteware cake stands (macys.com) work well for sandwiches and cookies and can be stacked as your guest list (or appetite) grows.
Make it personal with Strong place cards (mrsstrong.com) by renowned New York stationer Mrs. John L. Strong. It offers 15 styles as well as a bespoke service.
Mottahedeh tin plates (william-wayne.com) are hardier than Grandma's china but just as precious -- and perfect for your younger guests.
When empty, these glass tea cups with porcelain saucers (georgiatapertliving.com) are sleek and minimalist. When filled with tea, they seem to glow like amber.
The Indian block-printed Fleur napkins (lesindiennesshop.com) bring an unexpected touch of the exotic, but the pink hue fits right into the mix.
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Decorating Accents: Lampshades
With the right accessories, you can give an old lamp or dresser -- or a big, empty wall -- a face-lift.
Replacing a shade transforms not just the lamp, but (amazingly) the whole room. Just Shades' designs come in a slew of silhouettes and colors (from top, Silk String empire shade, Organza short drum shade, and Crystal Pleated square pagoda, justshadesny.com).
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Decorating Accents: Shelf
Create a home for books and other prized objects, and maybe even rein in a little odds-and-ends clutter, with the mango wood Renaissance shelf (simplicitydecor.com). The 38-inch plank is supported by two Victorian-inspired metal brackets.
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Nice-Looking Basics: Alarm Clock
If you look at them all the time, why shouldn't they look nice? Here are five items that bring a bit of beauty to waking up, staying cool, and even hauling out the trash.
The Amadana alarm clock (fitzsu.com) is soothingly minimalist and smartly designed; a button that pops up along the side lets you know when the alarm is set.
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Nice-Looking Basics: Hurricane Lantern
Copper Bodha hurricane lanterns (upriverhome.com) protect candles from being blown out and add casual elegance when lined up along a dinner table.
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Colorful Accents: Curtains
You may not be quite ready for a bright-yellow sofa, but there are plenty of less permanent ways to bring color into your home. Liven up every room in the house with these accent pieces, offered in a spectrum of hues.
Wolf Home's Madison linen sheer drapes (wolfhome-ny.com) add an ethereal sweep of color to a room. In addition to offering ready-made curtains, the company creates custom designs.
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Colorful Accents: Pillows
Whatever your sofa is calling out for -- solid crimson or indigo, blue stripes or green check -- there's a Basic square pillow (ballarddesign.com) for it. They come in 42 colors and patterns (also with monogramming options).
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Colorful Accents: Throws
The autumnal colors of the brushed cotton Gillian throws (sferra.com) make these blankets a perfect seasonal update.
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Colorful Accents: Towels
Designed in Japan, Yoshii Two-Tone Chambray towels (rikumo.com) are ultra-absorbent and saturated in gorgeous colors.
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Personalized Decor: Tote
From guest linens to a play house, these items let you put a truly personal stamp on all corners of your home.
In addition to its large canvas tote (shopiomoi.com), Iomoi offers monogrammed cushions, coasters, and letter holders in a range of colors and preppy patterns.
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Personalized Decor: Guest Towels
The tablecloths, napkins, sheets, and guest towels (leontinelinens.com) from Leontine Linens can be embroidered with a variety of fonts and flourishes.
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Personalized Decor: Custom Embosser
Available in several classic designs or personalized with your own artwork, this old-fashioned custom embosser (stampworx2000.biz) raises the grade on letter-writing.
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Personalized Decor: Kids' Play House
Children will have fun doodling and drawing all over this cardboard house (pommenyc.com), which arrives unadorned. Then they'll have a blast playing inside it.
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