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Bedroom Ideas, Dining Room Ideas, How To April 18, 2018

How to Choose the Best Rug Size for Every Room: Tips & Inspiration Guide

With so many rug sizes and styles available, it may be intimidating to choose one for your home. Area rugs have been called a room’s fifth wall, which means choosing the right one is as important and foundational as choosing the right wall color. Here’s a guide to choosing rug sizes that are a definite “design do” and will make a pleasing visual impact.

Bedroom Ideas, Entertaining, Health & Wellness April 9, 2018

A Guide to Children’s Sleep

If you’re a parent, you know just how important a good night’s sleep is for children.  A lack of quality sleep can bring out problems at school and at home. We’ve crafted a handy guide that details everything you need to know about children’s sleep. From how to make the nightly bed time routine a breeze, to choosing the mattress that’s best for their growing bodies, it’s all right here.

How To, Living Room Ideas December 26, 2017

Cushion Care: Keeping Furniture Sitting Pretty

Your hair. Your car. Your AC unit. What do these three things have in common? They all need maintenance to keep in tip-top shape.

Same goes for your sofa cushions. If you want your sofa, loveseat or sectional to be sitting pretty for years to come, a little cushion care goes a long way.

Like fluffing up the pillow you sleep on night after night, sometimes you have to “fluff up” sofa cushions by manipulating the cushion fibers. It’s easy. Here’s how…

For the seat cushions:

  1. Remove the cushions from the sofa. Unzip the cushion covers and get your arm way down in there.
  2. Run your hand along the outside of the cushion insert to fluff the fibers.
  3. Zip the cushion cover and run your hand up and down both sides of the outside of the cushion for a smooth and square finish.
  4. Put the seat cushions back in place and gently pull at the cushion corners to align the cushions.

For the back cushions:

  1. Use both hands simultaneously to pat down the cushions thoroughly and evenly.
  2. If your back cushions are removable, pat down both sides. And if they’re zippered, feel free to ruffle the inside.
  3. Once you’ve patted the cushions sufficiently, gently tug at the corners of the cushions for a crisp, like-new appearance.

That’s all there is to it.


Dining Room Ideas, Entertaining, How To December 20, 2017

Host an Epic New Year’s Eve Party

Pop, fizz, clink! Here’s to ringing in 2018 in style. A new year will be here before we know it and this year we’ve decided to countdown to midnight at home with some of our closest friends. For inspiration on how we’re getting the party started, click here:



First things first, let’s talk eats and drinks. Let’s be honest, you know all of your friends’ first question after RSVP’ing will be: “what are we having?” And can you blame them? The holidays are a time to really treat yourself and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Break out your most fabulous dinnerware and serve the thing that tastes best with champagne: Lobster. Mac. And. Cheese. Is there anything more special than lobster and bubbly? We think not. Here’s a fabulous recipe we’ll be whipping up:


A lobster mac n cheese dish


yield: SERVES 8

total time: 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES


  • 3 (6 to 7 oz) lobster tails thawed or fresh
  • 1 to 2 pounds noodles of your choice, macaroni or fancy.
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4-5 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 350.

Shell, clean, and coarsely chop lobster meat. Have patience. Set aside.

Grate all 3 cheeses. Add 2 cups of heavy cream to a double boiler, followed by cream cheese. Add small amount of the shredded cheese to the double boiler, mixing with a whisk. Repeat until the cheese is gone.

Boil water and cook your pasta. Set aside.

Add olive oil and butter to a skillet on med-high. Add chopped shallot and minced garlic. Add lobster meat and saute for 1-2 minutes or until meat becomes opaque. Add 1/4 cup white wine. Saute for another 1-2 minutes then set aside off heat.

If cheese mixture needs thinned out, add white wine in 1/4 cup increments, whisking it in.

In a baking dish, layer pasta, lobster mix, and cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.


Before your guests arrive, plan out where you’d like everyone to mix and mingle before dinner is served. We love the idea of having everyone hang out in the living room. You can put on your favorite music hits of 2017 or even a classic movie everyone will love. This is also where you can set out nibbles. Place trays of appetizers atop ottomans or poufsOpens in a new window. This will bring a cozy element to your party, and keep everyone out of your hair while you put the finishing touches on your epic pasta dish in the kitchen.



To really set your dining tableOpens in a new window apart, decorate it with a New Year’s Eve theme in mind. Make a centerpiece out of noise makers, place flowers in an empty champagne bottle and give everyone a fun hat or tiara to wear. Once the lobster mac and cheese is golden brown and ready to be served, have everyone sit down and raise a glass.

Here’s to 2018. May all your pain be champagne. Cheers!

Dining Room Ideas, Home Accessories Ideas, How To December 19, 2017

Dining Room Style: Cozy Christmas

Imagine this: it’s been a whirlwind month and you’ve been in high gear since Thanksgiving – shopping, decorating, wrapping, and planning. Now imagine that it’s Christmas Day. It’s finally time for the pay off – a peaceful, joy-filled dinner in your cozy dining room. The dining room of your dreams may look a little something like this:

Here are some tips on how you can create a cozy dining room of your own for your Christmas dinner.

Begin with a Great Foundation

Say goodbye to ho-hum dining room tables and chairs.  New seating options, from upholstered arm chairs to elegant side chairs and benchesOpens in a new window, provide plenty of stylish seating for you and your guests.  

brown urban dining room set with upholstered chairs and server

Hint: An extension table is perfect to ensure there’s room at the table for everyone.

detail of dining room set in dark brown finish

Replace the Boring Placemat

Fresh cut juniper under your china adds a splash of green, as well as a burst of fresh fragrance that is decidedly Christmas.

No juniper? Use whatever foliage appeals to you. Carefully selected boxwood, magnolia leaves, and even palm leaves are true foliage favorites. Set aside additional greenery to adorn the rest of the table, adding a few sprigs of holly and ivy for another layer of Christmas cheer.

Add the Magic of Candlelight

Make a bold statement with candles – but not just any candlesOpens in a new window. Weighty pillars with a distressed finish add rustic charm. Consider adding candle holders in varying heights for visual interest and enhanced incandescence.  Thread a strand or two of battery-operated fairy lights into the evergreen garland for added glow.

Hint: Use as many candles as you’d like, just make sure to use unscented candles, as fragrance can compete with the aromas of good food. And if you’re using scented candles (pine, cinnamon and peppermint are all wonderful Christmas fragrances!) in other areas of your home, light them 15 minutes before guests arrive so they’re greeted with a pleasant aroma.

Deck the Walls

Creating a cozy dining room means more than just setting the table. Adorn the walls with art and holiday decor to complete the warm atmosphere. A lighted wreath, red and green wall artOpens in a new window, and winter-inspired canvas art all fit the theme.


Baskets and small lighted trees – real, artificial, or even painted wood – add texture.

Hint: Freestanding decorations like these wood trees add homespun texture and charm, no matter where you place them.

And what’s the magic of a cozy Christmas without a heartwarming meal? Keep the menu simple – bonus points for every dish you can make ahead – so you can spend quality time with friends and family. Here’s a simple, and simply delicious, cider ham recipe you can whip up in your crockpot, freeing you up to join in the fun.


Photo of slow cooked ham.


  • 1 1/4 cups fresh-pressed apple cider (unfiltered, raw apple juice- I used organic apple cider)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons smooth or grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 orange, scrubbed
  • 1 best-quality bone-in smoked ham (6 to 7 pounds)
  • 1 cinnamon stick


Pour cider into a 6-quart slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, Dijon, ginger and pepper.  Zest the orange into the bowl and mix the marinade ingredients together.

Rub the marinade onto one side of the ham and place it marinade-side-down into the slow cooker.  Spoon the rest of the marinade all over the rest of the ham.

Peel the orange and coarsely chop the pulp, discarding any seeds.  Add the orange around the sides of the ham and tuck the cinnamon stick inside too.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

To serve, transfer the ham to a platter.  Cover to keep warm.  Strain liquid from the slow cooker into a gravy pitcher and serve with the ham.

SOURCE: (Reprinted from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites : Pintail; February 10, 2015 : Recipe: © Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, 2015)


How To, Living Room Ideas December 3, 2017


You and your partner are a great match in so many ways. If only you were on the same page when it came to your taste in home decor…

Take heart in the fact that you’re not alone. Few couples find instant harmony as they “combine their assets,” so to speak. Not to worry. Consider this an opportunity to collaborate on a common goal: great style that works for both of you.


Embrace Your Differences—to an Extent

We’ve all heard the term, “eclectic style,” the concept that it’s OK to mix and match. While that’s very true, there’s a fine line between cool eclectic and flea market hodgepodge. If your styles are highly different (e.g., he likes European traditional while you love loft chic style), one of you is going to have to give up more than the other to make it work. Think of it as the 80/20 rule.

As long as about 80% of your room decor conveys a particular style, you can accessorize and really play around with that other 20% by incorporating some very different style accent pieces.


Make Easy Adjustments

Say he’s bringing a very expensive dining room set to the table. He loves it, and he paid a lot for it. So it’s staying. But it’s not quite you…too heavy, too traditional, too dark. Here’s an idea: elevate the space with a light and airy wall color…a crisp white or maybe even a sky blue can be instantly uplifting.


The right accessories like accent tables, lighting and wall art can bring the space closer to your style. Looking to modernize the traditional? An inspired choice in upholstery furniture, curtains or floor coverings can weave the “old and new” beautifully. Take, for example, rugs. A bold striped pattern or something “organic” with a flowing feel is still restrained enough to play with traditional furnishings. It’s just got a fresher, more contemporary slant.

 Have a Common Thread

When you’re trying to merge a lot of different elements, consider the three Cs: color, consistency and commonality.

Color and consistency: If you think you have a “lot going on” in a room, an easy rule for tying the look together is to have a consistent thread throughout the space. Say that dining room set of his has upholstered chairs. A particular color in that upholstery might be an inspiration. Sprinkle that color throughout the space using pillows, throws and accent pieces to create your signature design.


Commonality: If you both have wall art you’re proud to show off, consider a “gallery look” so that they share the same style frames. It looks so much cleaner. A set of lamps that “talk” to each other or different accessories of the same material (e.g., a distressed goldtone metal) are all great “unifiers.”

Bright Idea: Check out our “How to Create a Gallery Wall” and “Going for Gold: Decorating with Metallic Gold Accessories” blogs for even more tips on how to liven up your space.


We’ve devoted an entire blog to the theme of getting a mattress that works for both of you. Check out “How to Choose a Mattress with Your Significant Other” to find out more. And don’t miss our partner blogger Jenna at Visions of Vogue who did an amazing job restyling her living room using exclusively Ashley HomeStore furniture!

These are just a few of the ways you can each express your individual tastes in a highly cohesive fashion. Most importantly, have fun and let your creativity shine!