Searching, finding and deciding on a coffee table can be a frustrating experience. It always has been for me. While it may not appear to be, this table is, apart from your sofa, the most important piece of furniture in a living room. It needs to be functional (fits the space, effectively displays beautiful and interesting items) and practical (a temporary storage space for a cocktail or plate). It also needs to be stylish, as the one piece of furniture people gather around, look at, and use. This table (from Crate & Barrel’s more affordable line, CB2), perfectly embodies the contrast that defines the Mile High Style aesthetic: place a vase of flowers on top and pair it with an antique sofa.
Boxes are a fabulous home accessory. They look beautiful and hold stuff. Multi-functional, place them on a coffee or side table to store your remote controls, candy, photos, or your unmentionables and in the bathroom to hold Q-Tips or cotton balls. These pictured are the standard and come in a variety of colors. I use the biggest one to hold all my photos. For a more glamorous look (and one that would look great in a bathroom), you can go with these. And, for those with like to infuse humor into their decor, Jonathan Adler is the gold standard.
- Read fashion/style magazines– Editors at these magazines are at the cutting edge of what’s available now and what’s coming next. They are literally the experts, and the best stuff goes into the magazines. While I don’t feel that all are equally useful, Lucky, Elle and Bazaar are the best (I would stay away from Vogue and W which are high on fashion, low on practicality). I get at least one idea every month from Lucky alone.
- Get a manicure– I can’t explain why, but short, painted nails are the perfect accessory. They make an already great outfit better. And if you’re like me and chip your nails just by looking at the wrong, I’m gonna say 3 words that will change your life: OPI Gel Manicure. It has all the benefits of acrylics (no chipping) without any of the cheesiness. Added bonuses: it looks good for weeks at a time, keep cuticles from growing in, and is bone dry (from UV machines) immediately.
- Stop matching– This requires the least amount of effort. If it matches, don’t wear it. Instead, try working within a framework of complementation.
- Light on the makeup– Fresh faced and natural never goes out of style. A good guideline is just enough makeup to cover and blend imperfections (concealer), make eyes pop (mascara applied conservatively and eyebrow pencil if necessary), and add color to the skin (lightly dusted bronzer and blush).
- Get on Gilt– Gilt.com is the pantheon for online designer shopping. New York Magazine recently published an article about Gilt. Apparently at 10am (when all sales for the day start), fashionable offices around New York City are silent as women intensely peruse the merchandise. People take Gilt very seriously. The reason? Top of the line designers (Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Donna Karen) so heavily discounted they’re practically free. The downside is that merchandise goes fast, and it’s an oddly competitive experience (you have 10 minutes to decide once something is added to your shopping bag, otherwise it goes back on the ‘floor’.) But, and this is a big but- when you score, you score BIG.
- Commit– like everything else, being good at something requires practice, dedication and effort. While I’d like to say that improving your style is effortless, this is not the case. Most of the work necessary is mental: thinking about what you’re gonna wear, how it looks, why it does or doesn’t work. Don’t be lazy. Be inspired!
Have you ever spent the night in a luxury hotel? Noticed anything special about the beds? Hotels like The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and St. Regis pour money into their beds because they know the investment pays off. The Ritz beds have featherdown mattress pads and the Four Seasons uses a special line of mattresses manufactured by Sealy. Add to that the highest quality sheets on the market (usually Frette), and you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.
The ‘hotel bedding’ look has become very popular, as people want to create the peaceful, comfortable feeling they have when staying at one of these high-end chains. And while I’d love to tell you I can provide this on the cheap, I cannot. Bedding is expensive. However, I’ll tell you where to buy exactly what you need and save money.
For New Yorkers, Schweitzer Linen is a bed and bath staple. Next to Bloomingdales, most NYC residents buy their bedding from this store. They do so because the products are top of the line, (think Frette), half of the cost (think Restoration Hardware) and come in the widest variety of patterns and colors. You can, literally, get anything you want at this store, and thanks to 21st century shopping technology, you can buy it all online. Washing is simple (gentle cycle and consider getting a special detergent) and after about a year, they double in softness.
As far as Down Comforters go, Scandia is the best. If you can afford to add (approximately) $200 to your investment on a comforter, or another $100 on a pillow, this is the way to go. Their Pillowtop Featherbed is the closest thing to cloud conditions. There is, quite simply, nothing like Scandia.
Once you have the basics, add on 2-3 throw pillows. West Elm offers many chic and affordable options. If your bedding is basic and in the hotel aesthetic, pillows are the place to play with color and pattern so mix them up! Add one of these with one of these. Or one of these with one of these. If you’re looking for fun, humorous pillows, Jonathan Adler is the gold standard.