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Living Lesson: Make It Seasonal

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As I mentioned in a recent interview I did with Refinery29, like clothes, homes definitely have seasons. In the summertime, I like to roll up wool rugs or silk rugs and put down sisal or change out silk lampshades for paper. It’s the same as the way you would wear white jeans in the summertime and then switch to corduroy for fall.

With autumn upon us, I wanted to give you a few easy ways to shift your decor to reflect the crisp air and falling leaves. The gallery below includes tips for all seasons. I hope it will serve as a short, year-round guide for how to decorate with the time of year in mind.

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Fall: Paint the backs of bookcases in a bright orange for the fall season -- or just line them with colored paper -- to give your case a cozy touch.

1 Fall: Paint the backs of bookcases in a bright orange for the fall season -- or just line them with colored paper -- to give your case a cozy touch.

Fall: One temporary way to bring autumn indoors is to create a natural display, such as a blazing tree branch and greenish gourds.

2 Fall: One temporary way to bring autumn indoors is to create a natural display, such as a blazing tree branch and greenish gourds.

Fall & Winter: Give plain sofa pillows vibrant personalities with easy-to-make pillow bands. These are made with wool; when the weather warms, they can be swapped for a more summery material, such as a cheerful printed cotton.

3 Fall & Winter: Give plain sofa pillows vibrant personalities with easy-to-make pillow bands. These are made with wool; when the weather warms, they can be swapped for a more summery material, such as a cheerful printed cotton.

Winter: Although dark-purple walls might be difficult to live with (and hard to paint over), a deep-violet door creates intrigue without overpowering this entryway. The marriage of purple paint and dark wood floors also looks surprisingly classic. The door can be painted over when this darker tone seems too harsh.

4 Winter: Although dark-purple walls might be difficult to live with (and hard to paint over), a deep-violet door creates intrigue without overpowering this entryway. The marriage of purple paint and dark wood floors also looks surprisingly classic. The door can be painted over when this darker tone seems too harsh.

Spring: Often times, a change in season can present a decorating challenge. With lots of April showers come wet things. This DIY slipcover provides a waterproof, attractive place to throw your tote and take off rain boots.

5 Spring: Often times, a change in season can present a decorating challenge. With lots of April showers come wet things. This DIY slipcover provides a waterproof, attractive place to throw your tote and take off rain boots.

Spring: There is no need for a sizable investment in season. Something as simple as adorning an ordinary lampshade with colorful stripes can make the whole room feel a bit like spring.

6 Spring: There is no need for a sizable investment in season. Something as simple as adorning an ordinary lampshade with colorful stripes can make the whole room feel a bit like spring.

Spring & Summer: Nature brings out its own palette of beauties each season. A lush gathering of daffodils in April or a nosegay of roses in June will instantly make your home feel right now.

7 Spring & Summer: Nature brings out its own palette of beauties each season. A lush gathering of daffodils in April or a nosegay of roses in June will instantly make your home feel right now.

Summer: Whether the materials come from your backyard or a garden center, its easy to incorporate natural elements into the centerpiece of an alfresco dinner. Position stones down the middle of an outdoor table, and intersperse bunches of cushion moss.

8 Summer: Whether the materials come from your backyard or a garden center, its easy to incorporate natural elements into the centerpiece of an alfresco dinner. Position stones down the middle of an outdoor table, and intersperse bunches of cushion moss.

Summer: What says summer more than a sunny day on a sailboat? Take a cue from nautical style with easy-to-add (and easy-to-remove) rope knobs.

9 Summer: What says summer more than a sunny day on a sailboat? Take a cue from nautical style with easy-to-add (and easy-to-remove) rope knobs.

Summer: The materials you wear from season to season can inform your interior accents. Linen is a go-to fabric in the warmer months, so it makes for a delightfully breezy bed come June.

10 Summer: The materials you wear from season to season can inform your interior accents. Linen is a go-to fabric in the warmer months, so it makes for a delightfully breezy bed come June.

Entryway Solutions

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In the April 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living, I shared my guidelines for setting up a beautiful, yet functional entryway. As fall approaches and your families start a new school year, I thought I'd revisit my advice from the column and other inspirational entryway ideas from past issues of Living.

More often than not, I find that people overlook the entryway as a space that needs to be decorated. However, the entryway sets the tone for your home, providing guests with an initial impression of your design aesthetic and greeting you each time you walk through the door. My hope is that these examples inspire you to create a space that is a pleasure to walk through as you start or end your day.

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This is the entryway to my apartment, as seen in the April 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living. I always like to have fresh flowers greeting me when I come home from a long day at work. 
(Martha Stewart Living, April 2011)

1 This is the entryway to my apartment, as seen in the April 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living. I always like to have fresh flowers greeting me when I come home from a long day at work. (Martha Stewart Living, April 2011)

It's essential to have a mirror in your entryway. That way you can quickly check your appearance before running out the door. I like this sunburst mirror because it doubles as wall art. (rejuvenation.com)

2 It's essential to have a mirror in your entryway. That way you can quickly check your appearance before running out the door. I like this sunburst mirror because it doubles as wall art. (rejuvenation.com)

This is another great option. It's simple, but the rope detailing makes it special. (restorationhardware.com)

3 This is another great option. It's simple, but the rope detailing makes it special. (restorationhardware.com)

This is a classic option, and it's a great size too. (homedecorators.com)

4 This is a classic option, and it's a great size too. (homedecorators.com)

An umbrella stand is an entryway necessity. They keep umbrellas out of the way when not in use, and give you a place to dry them out after a rainy day. I like this straightforward black leather model. (comforthouse.com)

5 An umbrella stand is an entryway necessity. They keep umbrellas out of the way when not in use, and give you a place to dry them out after a rainy day. I like this straightforward black leather model. (comforthouse.com)

This Mediterranean red makes more of a statement. (larsbolander.com)

6 This Mediterranean red makes more of a statement. (larsbolander.com)

I personally like these containers the most. The metal gives the umbrella stand a clean look, and they come in multiple sizes. (allmodern.com)

7 I personally like these containers the most. The metal gives the umbrella stand a clean look, and they come in multiple sizes. (allmodern.com)

This umbrella stand is actually made from a flower bucket which has been painted on the bottom. It's a more colorful, DIY option.

8 This umbrella stand is actually made from a flower bucket which has been painted on the bottom. It's a more colorful, DIY option.

Another entryway must-have is a console. You need a place to set mail, keys, bags and other items without creating clutter. (wisteria.com)

9 Another entryway must-have is a console. You need a place to set mail, keys, bags and other items without creating clutter. (wisteria.com)

The raised glass surface on this console allows you to add decoration underneath. (modernfurniturewarehouse.com)

10 The raised glass surface on this console allows you to add decoration underneath. (modernfurniturewarehouse.com)

This is a timeless console. And with its rounded shape, no one will be bumping into corners. (ethanallen.com)

11 This is a timeless console. And with its rounded shape, no one will be bumping into corners. (ethanallen.com)

I always keep a tray in my entryway to place mail. This tray is just the thing, because it's designed to look like an aged envelope. (johnderian.com)

12 I always keep a tray in my entryway to place mail. This tray is just the thing, because it's designed to look like an aged envelope. (johnderian.com)

The woven construction of this letter tray will suit most any home. (basketville.com)

13 The woven construction of this letter tray will suit most any home. (basketville.com)

The lacquer finish makes this tray très chic. (jonathanadler.com)

14 The lacquer finish makes this tray très chic. (jonathanadler.com)

Shaker pegs are great for hanging outerwear, leashes and umbrellas in the entryway. You can make these pegs look like they've been there forever by adding them to molding. For simple installation, look for pegs that have screws on the end, like those from constantines.com

15 Shaker pegs are great for hanging outerwear, leashes and umbrellas in the entryway. You can make these pegs look like they've been there forever by adding them to molding. For simple installation, look for pegs that have screws on the end, like those from constantines.com

Benches are perfect for entryways because they give you a place to sit or put on and take off shoes. You can even store items in the cubbies included in this bench.

16 Benches are perfect for entryways because they give you a place to sit or put on and take off shoes. You can even store items in the cubbies included in this bench.

To prevent shoes from leaving dirt and scratches on the cubbie floors, use trays or baking sheets.  Attach some felt surface protectors to the tray bottom so it will slide out easily.

17 To prevent shoes from leaving dirt and scratches on the cubbie floors, use trays or baking sheets. Attach some felt surface protectors to the tray bottom so it will slide out easily.

This idea is perfect for winter, or for a rainy spring. Place large baking trays with cooling racks inside next to the front door, and let wet shoes drip dry on them.

18 This idea is perfect for winter, or for a rainy spring. Place large baking trays with cooling racks inside next to the front door, and let wet shoes drip dry on them.

Another creative way to do this is by filling a tray with pebbles.

19 Another creative way to do this is by filling a tray with pebbles.

This collapsible wine rack is perfect for organizing and drying out mittens, hats and other snow day wear in winter.

20 This collapsible wine rack is perfect for organizing and drying out mittens, hats and other snow day wear in winter.

A fun way to label bins in an entryway is to take pictures of each family member–even the dog gets it's own bin–and attach the pictures with super strong magnets.

21 A fun way to label bins in an entryway is to take pictures of each family member–even the dog gets it's own bin–and attach the pictures with super strong magnets.

Galvanized rolling bins are an easy solution to organize shoes and other outerwear accessories under an entryway bench. Casters allow for easy access.

22 Galvanized rolling bins are an easy solution to organize shoes and other outerwear accessories under an entryway bench. Casters allow for easy access.

They fit kids' winter boots perfectly.

23 They fit kids' winter boots perfectly.

Another organizing idea for the entry is to use hanging baskets. These natural woven baskets look great on the wall, and the hooks are easily installed.  They're perfect for sorting mail.

24 Another organizing idea for the entry is to use hanging baskets. These natural woven baskets look great on the wall, and the hooks are easily installed. They're perfect for sorting mail.

This set up is great for families with children because the pegs are at the perfect height. The upper shelf serves as the adult space, with cork boards for hanging important reminders.

25 This set up is great for families with children because the pegs are at the perfect height. The upper shelf serves as the adult space, with cork boards for hanging important reminders.

Kids can easily reach the bins above the pegs, which are ideal for holding socks, mittens and school supplies.

26 Kids can easily reach the bins above the pegs, which are ideal for holding socks, mittens and school supplies.

This board is constructed out of matchstick shades, and looks much more sophisticated than a plain cork board.

27 This board is constructed out of matchstick shades, and looks much more sophisticated than a plain cork board.

This DIY peg board doubles as both wall art and organizational piece. It's made from a garden lattice.

28 This DIY peg board doubles as both wall art and organizational piece. It's made from a garden lattice.

There are other options for organizing mail too. This plate rack works great.

29 There are other options for organizing mail too. This plate rack works great.

Use entry hall closet space wisely. You can double hanging space with an adjustable closet rod expander.  Perfect when you have a lot of guests.  Hanging organizers create cubbies for hats and bags and long projection hooks mounted on the door hold oversized totes.

30 Use entry hall closet space wisely. You can double hanging space with an adjustable closet rod expander. Perfect when you have a lot of guests. Hanging organizers create cubbies for hats and bags and long projection hooks mounted on the door hold oversized totes.

Adding shelving to the bottom of a entry closet keeps everything neat.

31 Adding shelving to the bottom of a entry closet keeps everything neat.

If you don't have enough room in your hallway closet (especially during the holidays), you can easily make more with rolling garment racks like the one above.

32 If you don't have enough room in your hallway closet (especially during the holidays), you can easily make more with rolling garment racks like the one above.

This coat rack has hooks all on four sides, plus shelving.

33 This coat rack has hooks all on four sides, plus shelving.

You can create this temporary winter accessories storage with wire racks, wood rails and hooks. At the end of the season, simply dismantle and store until next winter.

34 You can create this temporary winter accessories storage with wire racks, wood rails and hooks. At the end of the season, simply dismantle and store until next winter.

The mirrors in this entryway bring a lot of light into the space, but they also function as a place to take that last glance before darting out the door.

35 The mirrors in this entryway bring a lot of light into the space, but they also function as a place to take that last glance before darting out the door.

For better household communication, place a set of decorative chalkboards in the entryway.

36 For better household communication, place a set of decorative chalkboards in the entryway.

They provide a great focal point on the walls, while provide space for family members to leave notes.

37 They provide a great focal point on the walls, while provide space for family members to leave notes.

A shelf in an entryway is the perfect landing place for mail, keys, and other everyday items. Dress up your shelf by painting it, adding flowers, a light fixture, mirror and art above.

38 A shelf in an entryway is the perfect landing place for mail, keys, and other everyday items. Dress up your shelf by painting it, adding flowers, a light fixture, mirror and art above.

Screw in a hook and you have a place to put the keys

39 Screw in a hook and you have a place to put the keys

For keeping track of her many keys, Martha uses a labeled Homasote board. Each key has it's own label and corresponding hook. This system makes it easy to just grab and go.

40 For keeping track of her many keys, Martha uses a labeled Homasote board. Each key has it's own label and corresponding hook. This system makes it easy to just grab and go.

This key cubby is a great way to organize keys and hide them away . This type of miniature cabinet is an easy find at flea markets.

41 This key cubby is a great way to organize keys and hide them away . This type of miniature cabinet is an easy find at flea markets.

This metal shelf is another great entryway option. It has a folding mechanism that allows it to lay flat when it's not needed.

42 This metal shelf is another great entryway option. It has a folding mechanism that allows it to lay flat when it's not needed.

This is an entryway that can be put together fast. It only involves a few pieces: a chair,  shaker pegs, shelf molding, a bucket and a tray. Now everything has a place.

43 This is an entryway that can be put together fast. It only involves a few pieces: a chair, shaker pegs, shelf molding, a bucket and a tray. Now everything has a place.

For a sleek entryway look, try installing floating drawers. And the bigger the mirror the better. Opt for a full-length mirror if you have the space.

44 For a sleek entryway look, try installing floating drawers. And the bigger the mirror the better. Opt for a full-length mirror if you have the space.

The drawers are the perfect size to store keys, dog leashes and other items. The top of the drawers double as a place to drop mail.

45 The drawers are the perfect size to store keys, dog leashes and other items. The top of the drawers double as a place to drop mail.

Mail boxes are a cute alternative for organizing an entry. Metal ones are magnetic so you can post things with magnets. You can store mittens and mail on the inside and use the hooks to hang up coats and jackets.

46 Mail boxes are a cute alternative for organizing an entry. Metal ones are magnetic so you can post things with magnets. You can store mittens and mail on the inside and use the hooks to hang up coats and jackets.

A collection of shutters mounted to the wall makes a nice organizer for papers and notes.

47 A collection of shutters mounted to the wall makes a nice organizer for papers and notes.

The great thing about this entryway is that it's color coded. Each family member has a place to pin things up and grab their mail.

48 The great thing about this entryway is that it's color coded. Each family member has a place to pin things up and grab their mail.

This framed bulletin board looks great.  Mount a shelf above that can be used for decorating or for more storage.

49 This framed bulletin board looks great. Mount a shelf above that can be used for decorating or for more storage.

Install a roller shade under the shelf and you can hide the clutter of the bulletin board when gusts come over.

50 Install a roller shade under the shelf and you can hide the clutter of the bulletin board when gusts come over.

Living Lessons: Symmetry

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From time to time, I like to share basic design lessons with my readers. These tactics can be utilized regardless of your personal taste or the dimensions of the space you are decorating. While keeping abreast of home design trends is a fun and exciting part of my job, I always refer back to these basics, as the trends are ever-changing. And symmetry is one design element that will never go out of style.

I love using symmetry to pull a room together. A pair of lamps or a set of strategically placed chairs can give your space a sense of balance. To demonstrate this lesson, I've collected various examples from past issues of Martha Stewart Living. I think you'll be impressed with what a great effect this simple strategy can have.

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The placement of the mirrors, medicine cabinets, and lighting above these double sinks gives this modern bathroom a sense of calm.

1 The placement of the mirrors, medicine cabinets, and lighting above these double sinks gives this modern bathroom a sense of calm.

Symmetry can be used to create a focal point in a room. Here, a pair of chairs defines a cozy sitting area. The windows along the far wall frame the space.

2 Symmetry can be used to create a focal point in a room. Here, a pair of chairs defines a cozy sitting area. The windows along the far wall frame the space.

Placing matching nightstands and lamps on either side of a bed is a great way to lend balance to any bedroom. I particularly like the arrangement of this bed between the two small square windows. I think it emphasizes the room's light.

3 Placing matching nightstands and lamps on either side of a bed is a great way to lend balance to any bedroom. I particularly like the arrangement of this bed between the two small square windows. I think it emphasizes the room's light.

This console table is orderly thanks to a balanced arrangement of accessories.

4 This console table is orderly thanks to a balanced arrangement of accessories.

Over-sized moss arrangements anchor a whimsical wooden console, putting the focus on a truly fantastic center arrangement.

5 Over-sized moss arrangements anchor a whimsical wooden console, putting the focus on a truly fantastic center arrangement.

Symmetrical and beautiful. I always like to have fresh flowers greeting me when I come home from a long day at work.

6 Symmetrical and beautiful. I always like to have fresh flowers greeting me when I come home from a long day at work.

I love the use of vertical space here. Hanging these prints one above another emphasizes the ceiling height. Meanwhile, the chairs create a lovely place to sit.

7 I love the use of vertical space here. Hanging these prints one above another emphasizes the ceiling height. Meanwhile, the chairs create a lovely place to sit.

I love the juxtaposition of randomly arranged paintings above a balanced seating area.

8 I love the juxtaposition of randomly arranged paintings above a balanced seating area.

Arranging two identical couches face-to-face creates a space for intimate conversation–perfect for entertaining. The bold window treatments also balance out this room.

9 Arranging two identical couches face-to-face creates a space for intimate conversation–perfect for entertaining. The bold window treatments also balance out this room.

This simple furniture arrangement is completely symmetrical–built around a traditional chandelier.

10 This simple furniture arrangement is completely symmetrical–built around a traditional chandelier.

A pair of framed photographs looks chic when hung gallery-style, and works just as well as a larger piece of art.

11 A pair of framed photographs looks chic when hung gallery-style, and works just as well as a larger piece of art.

On the mantle, candlesticks draw your focus in, highlighting a prized work of art.

12 On the mantle, candlesticks draw your focus in, highlighting a prized work of art.

A pair of framed photographs punctuate this living room.

13 A pair of framed photographs punctuate this living room.

The symmetry of the candlesticks, vases, bowls, and chest gives this mantle a sophisticated and uncluttered look.

14 The symmetry of the candlesticks, vases, bowls, and chest gives this mantle a sophisticated and uncluttered look.

These chairs set this classic console table at center stage. Plus, they will provide extra seating for dinner parties.

15 These chairs set this classic console table at center stage. Plus, they will provide extra seating for dinner parties.