I am embarrassed to admit it but I was raised by a woman who prayed to the god of plastic covers. My mom fancied herself something of a home design icon, and for some reason believed that unless every sofa, club chair, loveseat and cushion (no matter what shape or size) didn't crackle and stick to your thighs when you sat on it, it just wasn't luxe.
By the time my sister and I (the slovenly swine we were) were older, the plastic covers magically disappeared. I think it was about that time that Mom discovered the plethora of women's magazines that beheld beautiful photos of beautiful rooms with beautiful furniture -- and there was not a plastic cover to be found in any of them. Unfortunately their influence only went so far, as her love of French provincial decor stayed with her (and in our home) for many more years to come. Yes, I can actually remember a friend walking into my parents' bedroom, seeing their furniture and the HUGE, ornate gold headboard, and exclaiming, "Wow, this looks like a house of horrors!"
Luckily, the love of "haunted house chic" was not passed down to me, but I know that style of decor is still alive and living strong somewhere out there... on the Jersey shore, I think (no disrespect meant to Snooki).
Today we have more than just a handful of magazines with which to tantalize our eyes and minds when it comes to interior design and home remodeling. Years ago it was just Bob Vila's This Old House that was the only game in the, well... neighborhood. Now there are a multitude of TV shows, websites and other resources to turn to for inspiration and information.
So, whether you live in a home where the buffalo roam or in Buffalo, the best advice is just a click away.
Here's a list of some of our favorites, and of course, we'd love to know where you turn for design/renovation/remodeling insight, so let us know right below in the comments section.
Kitchen Cousins -- HGTV -- After spending five hours on a plane watching a marathon broadcast of this show, I consider myself an expert (of the show, not the expertise). Cousins John (the designer) and Anthony (the contractor) are two New Jersey guys who do amazing things (primarily) with kitchens. They really know their stuff, are knowledgable about all sorts of building tricks, and do things that can easily be transferred to the average homeowner's space. Added benefit: The guys are really easy on the eyes.
Mom Caves -- HGTV -- Beth Stern is the host of this show that incorporates cutting-edge design with the glamor of Beth's world. (She's the wife of shock jock Howard Stern and has a few mom caves of her own).
Interior Therapy -- Bravo -- Jeff Lewis and his two talented assistants work together to redesign a homeowner's space -- which ultimately leads to changing their lives.
Bob Vila -- The "dean of home remodeling" has resurfaced on the web and his site is loaded with ideas and info about remodeling, repairs, redecorating and green building. This is a terrific all-around how-to site.
Apartment Therapy -- Well-organized site that features photos of the spaces of real-life people (like you and me!) and the things they've done to really personalize them. Before and afters (my favorite), living in style on a budget and green living are all here.
Design Sponge -- This is the ultimate site for design of all kinds. Articles touch upon regional beauties and oddities, recipes and discussions on toxins within the industry.
HOUZZ has been called the "Wikipedia of interior and exterior design," so you know that the odds are good you will find something there to strike your fancy. It's like visiting a remodeler's city from your chair.
Remodelista -- This blogger has some great ideas that in turn will give you ideas. Her site is like a great source book, and her photographs are also lovely and vibrant.
Etsy is a great place to shop for vintage, homemade and funky accessories online. If you search "home design" you will find all sorts of objets d'art and unique things to purchase that will make your place stand out.
Pinterest is an amazing resource for culling design and remodeling inspiration. There are pages upon pages of photos of home interiors, furniture, tile, etc., in all the styles you can imagine (and didn't imagine). I like dettagli home design for organic pillows and fabrics and Jan Weiss's California sense of style. (By the way, Betterafter50 has some home design pins on our Pinterest page too. Please visit us!)
And here, from the most iconic home improvement show around -- guess that's why they called it Home Improvement!