Furnishing Dreams: Extreme Makeover 10 Years Later

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is coming back on the air in 2020! This show holds a special place in our hearts because we donated furniture and volunteered when the show came to Buffalo around ten years ago. Ty and his gang came to Buffalo to help out Dolores Powell and her four children who had been living in a house due to be demolished at any time.

Dolores came to Buffalo from Jamaica to have a better life for herself and has brought so much to the Buffalo community. Ten years ago, Buffalo was suffering from the recession. Jobs were scarce, properties were crumbling, and morale was low. Dolores brought light to her neighborhood by maintaining vacant properties, helping her neighbors in any way she could, making a good life for her children, and working tirelessly as a nurse’s assistant.

Unfortunately, the house she bought had a lot of undisclosed issues that the seller did not tell her about. She was left with a crumbling home not fit for anyone to live in. Windows were broken, the floor had holes in it, the foundation was crumbling, and there was no running water in the bathrooms. In the winter, the whole family would sleep in one bed to stay warm.  In order to get off the demolition list, the house needed to get up to code, which Dolores could not afford to do.

This is where the Extreme Makeover team came in. Hundreds of volunteers showed up to help work on the house and show their support for the Powell family, including award-winning singer/songwriter Ashanti! Some of our own HomeStore team went to help out and deliver furniture! This was one of the largest turnouts for volunteers in Extreme Makeover history. The Powell’s old, dilapidated house was deconstructed, not demolished so that salvageable pieces of the house could be re-used by others in the community.

Not only were they able to create a wonderful new home for the Powell family, but they also helped out many of their neighbors, and created a brand-new community garden to further Dolores’ mission of making her community a better place.

We were able to show our support for the Powell family by donating furniture to really make their new house a home. We could not be more proud of our community, and we are so thankful that we were able to have this chance to make a difference within it.

How To Make Your Home Cozy For Fall: Practicing Hygge

Hygge. This term has become increasingly popular in recent years. But what is it exactly? Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish term, describing the art of creating intimacy with yourself, your friends and your home. Through cozy textures, warm tones, sweet smells, and soft lighting, you can create your own hygge home.

Cozy textures. What is better than cozying up in a chunky knit throw blanked on a chilly autumn evening? Bring textures into your home with soft faux fur throw pillows, some chunky blankets, and textured upholstery. Roll out a rug you can really sink your feet into.

Warm tones. Nothing is cozier than a warm-toned room. Pull in warm tones with gold and copper accessories, dark, warm wood tones and orange, mustard, blush or red accent colors.

Sweet smells. Brew some fresh coffee, bake some cinnamon rolls, light your favorite scented candle. These scents will comfort and calm you, and make you really work up an appetite! Indulge, you deserve it.

Soft lighting. Soft lighting is extremely calming and cozy. Light candles, string up some fairy lights, turn on a few table lamps. Keep it dim and warm, but make sure you have enough light to curl up with your favorite book!

Make this fall cozy. Try hygge!

Spice Up Your Home With Stencils

Is your house boring? Too many plain walls and floors? Do you need to make a statement that will wow your family and guests? Maybe stenciling is for you! A cheap, easy alternative to wallpaper and fancy tiles, stencils allow you to change up the feeling of a room without blowing your budget.

Image from Royal Designs Studio Stencils on Amazon

Stenciling is not a new concept. Walls have been decorated with stenciled designs for hundreds of years. But stenciling floors and walls have made a comeback, and it is HOT!

How do you stencil on walls or tile floor?

Step 1: Choose your stencil. If you are stenciling tile flooring, find a stencil that matches the measurement of your tiles.

Step 2: Clean the surface you will be stenciling. Use mineral spirits to make sure the surface is free of dirt, hair, and other foreign objects. Make sure to dry the surface completely.

Step 3: Tape the edges. Make sure all edges have painter’s tape so areas you do not want painted stay clean.

Step 4: Prime the surface. Make the surface paint-ready with some primer!

Step 5: Paint the base color. Use a roller and paintbrush to paint on the base color. If you are planning on stenciling your floor, start at the back wall of the room and work your way towards the door so you don’t paint yourself into a corner. You may need more than one coat, but make sure it has time to dry between coats.

Image from CuttingEdgeStencils on Etsy

Step 6: Stencil time! After you have let the base color dry completely, gently tape the stencil to the first tile in the back corner of the room using painter’s tape. Use a small foam stencil roller, or foam stencil brush to apply the secondary color. Make sure to use thin layers of paint and do multiple coats if needed as to have the least amount of bleed under the stencil. Allow the paint to completely dry.

Step 7: Touch up the stencil work. After the stencil paint has dried, use a small paintbrush with your base color to smooth out the edges of the stencil. With another small paintbrush, cover up any thin patches of the stencil paint.

Step 8: Seal the paint. If you are stenciling tile or any floor surface, make sure to seal the stencil work so that it lasts longer. Pay particular attention to anywhere that water is likely to splash.

Step 9: Enjoy your hard work! Look at this awesome floor or wall that you just created! Great job! Take a minute to look at what you just did. You are awesome!

Image from The Home Depot Blog

To style a room with a stenciled wall or floor, keep the other patterns minimal, and let your new stenciling be the statement piece of the room. You worked hard for it, so let it shine!

The History of Mid-Century Modern Design

You see it all over Pinterest, in magazines, and of course, your favorite HomeStores. It’s Mid-Century Modern. This style has made a comeback, and for great reasons. It’s sleek, clean, and compliments so many styles of living. So, where did these clean lines and minimalistic design come from?

Photo by dreaming_of_rivers

Mid-Century Modern first surfaced in the mid-1930s but really gained popularity in the years following the end of World War II, between 1945 and 1950. New homeowners were searching for functional furniture for their homes, straying away from the ornate fabric-covered duds of past decades. Mid-Century Modern furniture also flaunted the fact that it used minimal resources to create, which was a plus, especially after coming out of such a resource-consuming war. The people of this era craved simplicity and a return to happier times. The clean lines, geometric patterns, and pops of bright color within Mid-Century Modern furniture and design brought that to them.

As the 1960s began, Mid-Century modern design began to fade. The slowing of the housing boom, changing technologies, and new architectural and interior designs were all factors in the change of trends and the fall of Mid-Century Modern style. But don’t worry, its story doesn’t stop there.

Photo by Ron Frazier

Mid-Century Modern made its resurgence in the 1980s and has maintained popularity since then. This was again fueled by hard times after a war, this time, the Vietnam War. It was another call for simpler times. Not only that but now this furniture had an air of nostalgia to it that brought people comfort, as it still does today. Now, what has caused this trend to last as long as it has? It can’t just be the nostalgia factor. The answer to this may surprise you. Take a look at your phone. If you have an iPhone, you may see some similarities between it and Mid-Century Modern Design. Both have a sleek and minimalistic design, with emphasis on simplicity. Technology can make our lives hectic and messy, so we crave simpler things, where everything is in its place, and wrapped up in one nice, minimalist package. This, like in past decades, leads us to gravitate towards simple, sleek designs like Mid-Century Modern.

Incorporating Mid-Century Modern design into the home is quite an exciting journey. Of course, there are still original pieces from 50-60 years ago that are still around, but most of those antiques are incredibly expensive. If you are looking for a more affordable way to achieve this look, go to your local Ashley HomeStore and check out our Contemporary Living Lifestyle and see what Mid-Century Modern pieces you can find. And no worries, your house doesn’t have to look straight out of the ’50s, you can mix some Mid-Century Modern pieces into your home along with the rest of your furniture and décor. Bring some nostalgia into your life, try Mid-Century Modern design!

The History of Eclectic Design

Our well-loved lifestyle, Urbanology, is widely described as “eclectic”, meaning that the design is derived from many styles and tastes – A look that doesn’t fit into any traditional molds. Where does this style come from?

The first use of the word “eclectic” can be traced back to the 18th century when German art historian and archaeologist Johan Joachim Winckelmann used it to describe the work of Annibale Carracci. The 17th century artist borrowed diverse styles, ideas and theories relevant throughout different periods of history and combined them within a single work of art to create his own unique style. Eclecticism is found in many artforms; from paintings, to architecture, to interior designs. All of these follow the same general idea: Connecting different styles throughout history into one cohesive look.

How does this transfer to interior design? Eclectic design surfaced in the 20th century and is a rejection of rules and canon within the design sphere. This style is set in the direction of freedom of expression by combining what is most beautiful, comfortable, and interesting through existing styles. By utilizing a neutral color palette, multiple different styles can fit perfectly and harmoniously in a space. Designers looking to create an “eclectic” look will focus on layering textures, time periods, and trends, making sure that all elements come together to create a unified look and feel.

Because the eclectic style doesn’t really fit into any traditional design molds, this also means that it can be interpreted in many ways, and can evoke different emotions, and feelings within a space. This makes the eclectic look great or a variety of tastes and locations. From a rural farmhouse to a mod downtown loft. An eclectic room can be feminine or masculine, rustic or polished, monochromatic or colorful. The possibilities are endless!

How can I replicate this style at home? Start with a neutral palette, which will act as a blank canvas to introduce your various styles into. While compiling pieces to add to the room, look for pieces that complement each other either in size, shape, pattern, or color. If you do have a certain piece that stands out, let it! Use it as a focal point of the room, don’t attempt to blend it in. Another awesome way to achieve the eclectic look is through the layering of textures. Take a big chunky throw and pair it with some suede textured pillows. Add highly textured picture frames to your walls, and throw in a very smooth, mid-century coffee table.

Do whatever suits your personal taste, and don’t be afraid to experiment with placement and styles. The biggest takeaway from this style: Have Fun!

Thoughts On Making Your House A Home

The idea of “making your house your home” is nothing new. We hear it all the time. 

When you stop and think about it, though, what does it really mean to actually do it? It’s not something that abruptly happens, or is even done consciously at any point in time. It’s not like one day you decide, “Ok, self, today’s the day I’m going to start turning my house into my home.”

It simply begins with an empty space. A place where so much can (and will) happen. Walking into a new place, where you’re going to live for years to come, is like staring at a blank canvas for your future. Nobody knows what will happen there; nobody knows what it will look like once its lived in, as your family grows and your own style manifests. You just know that it’s the place where things will happen. Stuff will accumulate there. People will gather there. Life will happen there.

Obviously, the furniture and art you choose to fill the rooms and walls are a big part of making a house a home. It’s really just an extension of your personality and your family’s lifestyle.

But what’s behind those choices?

Over all else, what really shapes the evolvement of a house becoming a home is a collection of moments that ultimately dictate what goes where in what spaces.

Watching home renovation shows or scrolling through pages of Pinterest-perfect pins on the latest interior design trends, it’s easy to get caught up in “the look” and forget that your space has to be livable and adaptable to become a comfortable, yet functional home.

Your house truly starts to become your home when you take the style inspiration that you see on the outside and bring it inside—literally and figuratively—adapting tangible things to the situations and needs for everyone in your family.

For instance, when your living room becomes the bedroom, your house is becoming a home. When your dining room becomes a classroom, your house is becoming a home. When your bedroom becomes the play room, your house is becoming a home. When the doghouse is inside the house, your house is becoming a home.

It’s all of these situations, adding up over time, that impact what you choose to bring into your home. The look and feel of where you live is simply a product of how you live. Style and circumstances, together, shape a unique place that fits the life you’re building and the space you’re building, silently bringing everything together—people, pets, furniture, art work, homework, dirty dishes, nap times, play times, game nights… 

All of these little things, and your reactions to them, are what will lead you to naturally turn your house into your home.

For the Love of Living Coral

The color of the year according to Pantone® is here.

Every year, we take a moment to stop and recognize the fashion and design world’s precursor to color—the Pantone color of the year.

The queen of color for 2019 is *drumroll, pleeeease!* …Living Coral.

Pantone describes its peachy pigments as animating and life-affirming, with a golden undertone that energize and enliven with a soft edge.

The full, rather philosophical description is:

Vibrant, yet mellow, Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.

Representing the fusion of modern life, Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media. – Source pantone.com

All of that said, let’s talk about how to work with Living Coral in your home. It’s a beautiful accent color that offers a breath of fresh air for drab digs everywhere. Whether on a wall or an accent chair, or countless options for accessories, it can totally be the spark of color that changes the entire vibe of a space. With the long-living popularity of grays and blues, especially, Living Coral offers a way to add color while still sticking with stylish neutral backdrops.

Where to start?

Freshen up! Seeing a Living Coral swatch instantly inspires a bathroom makeover. Fresh, bright colors — towels, hand soaps, bath mats, and shower curtains would be stunning in Living Coral to brighten up where you clean up.

Welcome color. Your front door is the first glimpse of your home’s style. It’s very trendy right now to highlight doors, inside and out, with color. Alongside a neutral exterior paint, Living Coral would be a unique, fresh burst of color for your front door. What better way is there to welcome your guests with style? Not feeling that frisky? Try it inside first. Pop Living Coral on a bedroom door and pair it with off-white trim around the door frame. Et voilà! An instant transformation for your interior with a simple coat of paint.

Soften up. Fluff your way into the trend with some new pillows. So simple, yet such a dramatic difference. Adding Living Coral pillows to a tired sofa or chair will add lightyears of style, and freshen up how you feel about your furniture.

Accessorize and shine. Rugs, curtains, and comforters were made for Living Coral. Sprinkles of this hue in any accessory, in any room, are beautiful and versatile. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, just enough to show off its shining shade. A little bit goes a long way to amp up the liveliness of any space.

So, the ‘coral’ of the story here is, a little bit of brightness goes a long way… and Pantone’s color of the year is where you will see the light, so go get your color on!

There’s more than one room to decorate for the holidays

‘Tis the season for all the red and all the green, trimmed with gold and silver and everything pine.

Lights strewn about inside and out—it’s the happiest time of year for decorating, no doubt. More often than not, though, the living room gets most, if not all, of the redecorating love.

Think outside the living room.

This year, for an extra dose of cheer, remember that there’s more than one room to share all the holiday love that you have for your home. Here are a few different ideas to spread the joy all around the house:

Oh, Christmas trees… everywhere.

There are no rules when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree, so why not make it TREES?! Two in the living room, hallway trees, table trees. Spruce it up! A tree can be wherever you want a tree to be during the holidays!

Have a holly, jolly bedroom.

If coziness matters anywhere beyond the living room, it’s in your bedroom. What better time to amp up the cozy factor than during the holidays? Swap your comforter for a trendy, red buffalo check pattern. Put up a tree in the corner, while adding sprigs of tree branches or garland all around the room. You’ll never be sad to wake up to holiday cheer all through the end of the year!

Switch your “other sofa” style.

Many homes have multiple sofas or loveseats—in a back room, a den, the basement, or elsewhere. Bring the merry there, too! Make your extra room look like The 12 Days of Christmas by changing up your accessories as much as you want—plaid pillows, red, green, gold blankets, and more. Swap your regular wall art with something seasonal, or even some fresh pine wreaths. You can’t go wrong with all the little details during the holidays. If you’re feeling really fun, add a second tree to match!

Before the winter blues even have a chance to set in, try a few of these tricks for the merriest cold weather months ever! Check out even more holiday design in person at your local Ashley HomeStore.

Pumpkin spice it up

Yeah, yeah. Pumpkin spice everything.

“It’s too early.”

“I can’t get it soon enough.”

All of that pop culture pumpkin stuff aside, a fall home design isn’t done right without a pumpkin or two for flavor.

Whether you’re a seasoned seasonal designer or dabbling in interior fall festivities for the first time this year, pumpkins are a must-have that are way more versatile (and stylish) than you may think. So, before carving that orange beauty, stop and think about how you might pull some design inspiration from it.

Here are a few fun ideas to get you fall fired up:

Tradition ambition

There’s nothing wrong with copying your mother and sprinkling a few actual, living (breathing?) pumpkins around the house. However, updating traditions is what we’re all about in the 30-something household, so do it up your own way.

Paint patterns, cute letters, or whatever you can creatively conceive. Mix and match other things you have to compliment your fall pieces of flair. The possibilities are vast, but do keep it in check. Over-gourding can quickly become kitschy.

A good check is to implement the rule of thirds for this one. Try arrangements of three pumpkins, or even gourds and any other fall fruits, in a variety of sizes, and even colors. The pop of pumpkin freshness won’t disappoint—inside or out!


Center of attention

There’s no better time for amazing centerpieces than the fall—and there are so many options and outlets for creativity.

Obviously the table deserves front and center attention, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Centerpieces for sofa tables, side tables, ottomans, and random trays around the house are awesome places to place centerpieces, too.




Reuse, redecorate

In with the new, mixed with what you already knew. The best part about using seasonal flair to spice up your home is that you can take your own personal design style and simply add to it.

Rather than buying everything brand new, select a few pieces you love that go with what you already have.

Old crates, suitcases, baskets, blankets, pillows, and more pair beautifully with fall-themed accessories.

So, there you have it. Fall is fun, so live it up and let your design mind go wild!

Introducing Mane + Mason

There are a lot of fine lines when it comes to home design.

A big one is between farmhouse and modern style. Both are popular. Both are stylish. There are even some areas where the styles can intersect—but that doesn’t mean it’s a one size fits all, or that it’s easy to combine them and pull off a seamless look in your home.

Mane + Mason, the newest collection at Ashley HomeStore, is filled with options that embrace the good in both farmhouse and modern style, effortlessly celebrating the line between two very different approaches to design.

The collection represents a lifestyle that is approachable, yet refined. Its pieces are versatile, family-friendly, yet bring a level of modern sophistication into any home. Everyday life is celebrated, while keeping the emphasis on style and beauty.

Going too far with either style can happen. If you don’t live in an modern industrial-inspired loft, for instance, going for that popular metallic, urban chic, cool-colored look may not look right as the dominant style in your home. Trying to look like you live somewhere you don’t can come across as inauthentic, and kill the coziness that your home may already have. Likewise, if you live in an urban or suburban area, an overdone country/farmhouse theme may come across as phony, too. I mean, everyone knows you’re not churning your own butter in a metropolitan area… so the jig is quickly up when you try to look like you are with the art on your walls.

Mane + Mason beautifully bridges the gap between styles, making an alternative to both. The best part about it is that it’s super easy to find pieces that are you, that blend elements of design that you love, without having to go too heavy one way or the other.

Once you start browsing, you’ll see how great mixing and matching modern and farmhouse furniture can be! Check out more Mane + Mason style here.