You’ve worked hard to make your bedroom a welcoming sanctuary, but beneath its pretty facade, there could be serious health hazards lurking. Read on to uncover the bedroom dangers that could be harming you while you sleep and learn what you can do about them.
Air Quality
• Open Windows
Let your bedroom air out by opening the windows as weather permits each day. It will refresh the space and void it of noxious gasses that can build up indoors over time.
• House Plants
Not only will a potted plant or two beautify your bedroom, but they will also release oxygen and help filter out harmful compounds emitted by everyday cleaners, detergents, and fragrances. Studies show that houseplants can even improve your health.
• Purify
A quiet air filterer is an efficient way to purify your bedroom of dangerous pollutants and agitating allergens like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.
• Clean and Dust
Even with an air filter, it’s important to keep dirt and dust mites at bay by cleaning regularly. Pay special attention to areas that tend to accumulate them the most, including the floor, baseboards, windowsills, and upholstery. Even “clean” people often forget to wash these things.
• Wash Bedding
The amount of dead skin, grime, and dust mites that collect on your bedding is rather horrifying and can cause problems from asthma to acne. The good news is it’s easy to get rid of by cleaning your sheets, duvet, and pillowcases every 1-2 weeks.
• Air Out Bed
Keep moisture from getting stuck in your bedding and mattress and causing problems by airing it out briefly before you make the bed in the morning. Pull back the sheets, fluff out the pillows, and give everything a few minutes to dry before they’re closed back up for the day.
Hidden Toxins
• Chemical-Free Pillow
Bad news for memory foam pillow-lovers. These ergonomic head rests often outgas dangerous Volotile Organic Compounds or VOC’s that can cause headaches, nausea, and eye irritation. You don’t want your face, mouth, or nose anywhere near them. Swap them for pillows filled with organic materials, like wool or feathers, or at least a safer foam like a natural latex foam.
• Flame Retardant-Free Mattress
Considering how much time you spend in close proximity with your mattress each day, it’s a no-brainer to make it a safe one. While many products, including mattresses, were once doused in flame-retardant chemicals, it’s come to light that these chemicals are doing much more harm than good. They’ve been linked to types of cancer, birth defects, and fertility issues. Scary stuff, and reason to seek out an organic, chemical-free mattress.
• Move Office Equipment
In small apartment or studio, space is at a premium and spaces may have to do double duty – but do your best to keep office equipment away from your bed, especially if it’s running all the time. Research has shown that laser printers emit tiny particles into the air that may be dangerous.


by Andrew Schneider-Furniture Specialist

When adding a storage ottoman to your living space, you get a seat, a footrest, and a coffee table or side table all in one, with easily accessible storage for everything from blankets to remote controls to the clutter you don’t want guests to see. Take a look at some of the many ways you can use storage ottomans in your own home.

Round, button-top storage ottoman

Use a Storage Ottoman as a Footrest or Extra Seat

The primary purpose of an ottoman is as a footrest. After a long day, kick your feet up to watch TV or read a good book, and relax on your ottoman footrest. Ottomans are also superb choices when you need some extra seating for entertaining. Cushioned ottomans are comfortable to sit on and strong enough to handle the weight. Some storage ottomans even have casters on the bottom so you can roll them right where you want them to be. Some storage footstools are even big enough for more than one person to sit, which is handy when you have friends over to binge-watch your favorite TV show.

Square ottoman being used like a coffee table

Use a Storage Ottoman as a Table

If you choose a storage ottoman that’s a little lower than your sofa, you can use it as an ottoman coffee table combo. Pick up a couple of attractive metal or wooden trays to set on your ottoman to keep drinks stable, and use it as you would use any coffee table, placing your books, magazines, and remote controls within easy reach.

Rectangular ottoman in front of couch

How to Pair a Storage Ottoman with Your Existing Furniture

Take a good look at your living room furniture before adding one or more storage ottomans to the mix. Most people choose ottomans that match the overall style of the room. For example, if you have a modern or contemporary living room, you might want to go for a sleek, leather ottoman. If your style is more traditional, a tufted storage ottoman might be just the thing. Consider whether you want to match fabrics or use your ottomans as accent pieces that attract attention or function as works of art. If your color scheme is basically monochromatic, consider a splash of bold color in your ottoman, or opt for an eye-catching print.

Storage cube ottoman with serving tray on top

What to Store in a Storage Ottoman

A storage ottoman is one of the handiest pieces of furniture you can have in your home. Stash all your video game controllers and remote controls inside, or keep some extra throws close at hand to wrap up in when the temperature turns chilly. A storage cube can provide enough space to store DVDs or the extra linens for making up your sofa bed. If you have multiple storage ottomans, leave one empty for sweeping in all the built-up clutter of magazines, books, and unopened mail, whenever unexpected visitors show up.

Rectangular storage ottoman

Storage Ottomans in Your Bedroom

A storage ottoman can be an incredibly functional and attractive piece of furniture in your bedroom. Place a storage bench ottoman at the foot of your bed to provide a place to sit down and put on your shoes. Ottomans placed here are ideal for stashing those decorative pillows that you use only once in a while or to store extra blankets and pillows. A storage ottoman in a child’s room makes a terrific toy box and also provides a spot to perch when it’s time to read a bedtime story.


Storage Ottomans in Your Dorm Room

In the confined spaces of a college dorm room, a storage ottoman is incredibly useful. A colorful or bohemian ottoman can breathe a sense of style into an institutional space, and a storage ottoman is handy for storing everything from shoes to cold weather clothes that are too bulky for the limited closet space.

Not everyone is in the position of tossing out the old to make way for the new (or DIYed). If you’re stuck with a couch that doesn’t exactly excite you (whether because it came with your partner or you don’t have the funds to replace), consider a quick fix, instead: Disguise it with one of these ideas.

Now, in all fairness, the couches featured in the photos of this post are hardly unattractive. But they still illustrate principles you could use on your not-as-attractive couch to try and make it seem a bit better (if at the very least a bit different).

Make it blend into its surroundings more

If you don’t love your couch yet its shape or color makes it contrast and stand out, fight against that. Spread the color in the couch somewhere else. DIY a piece of art that features that color predominantly or even use a wall color that will be similar to it or complement with it. Paint a furniture piece in a similar color. Or find a piece of furniture that mimics the shape and place it in the same room. It might seem counter-intuitive to put more of whatever couch element is annoying you the most into your space, but it’ll actually take away that element’s power, or at least make it seem less potent.

Upgrade the texture

Drowning your couch in a new texture — like a sheepskin or two — will distract from the couch’s own material and give your seat a softer sensation to enjoy. It doesn’t have to be sheepskin, though; you could use a really textured knit blanket or throw pillow to work the same effect, or perhaps even a cowhide.

So many pillows!

If you’re not into the bohemian look, you might want to stay away from this idea. However, one of the easiest ways to disguise a couch you don’t adore is to cover it up with some of your favorite throw pillows. Bright colors and patterns are great, but if you want to disguise your sofa without overwhelming your room, just consider a set of uniform or monochromatic pillows arranged neatly.

Use throw blankets to alter

The thing about throw blankets is they tend to be, well, casually thrown on couches and chairs a lot. And while that can definitely make a difference to the look of a couch, something that can be even more powerful is using blankets with your couches with intention. Unlike a slip cover that goes over the whole couch, using a blanket to create a tight stripe like the above photograph, or to only lay across the bottom cushions, or to only fold on the armrests, approaches the aesthetics of your couch in an intentional way, altering the shape and pattern of it, and maybe even altering the look. You can stick to solid colors, or play with pattern to create an even larger visual impact.


Here are our favorite ways to work this dramatic but undemanding neutral into your home decor.

1. Pair brown with lighter, brighter colors.
Pair brown with lighter, brighter colors. Create a palette that is perfect for a living room, dining room or bedding ensemble using fabrics featuring browns, creams and pops of warm reds. Switch the red for navy and you have the same stately look.
Brown also looks great mixed with brighter, bolder accent colors. In a mix of fabrics, add in a liberal amount of cream, then threaded in a bit of sage and celadon. I also love turquoise, apple green, fuchsia (any pink, actually), orange and yellow with brown.

2. Bring brown alive through pattern.
The secret to keeping a focused palette interesting and alive is to swirl the colors together with lots of different patterns. The mix of patterns in the furnishings is the key to success.

3. Use brown to spotlight lighter accents and artwork.
Great artwork can get lost on a light wall if you are not careful. But when you hang lighter pieces against a moody, dark canvass of brown, it pops!

4. Add brown to make spaces soothing.
Warm and wonderful, brown pillows on a comfy cream sofa look ready for your Sunday nap.

5. Pair brown with earthy accents.
The color of bark and soil and fall leaves, brown is a natural when paired with earthy accents.
A rustic wood table is a perfect celebration of brown in all its many shades and finishes.

I just returned from England and spent a beautiful day in the southwest along the coast for an exclusive tour, interview with Head of Creative, Charlotte Crosby, a special lunch at The Squash Court Cafe, and a tour of the Farrow & Ball headquarters along with a private showing of the Deans Court Home. What a great day it was because there was so much to see and just be inspired by, so first I’ll start with the tour and then wrap up with my very informal chat with Charlotte. Located in Wimborne, Dorset, their headquarters consists of several office spaces, the wallpaper and paint factory, and a showroom. When I arrived, my tour of the paint factory began so l’ll share that with you now…


Hello dear readers! This is some March-inspired ideas for your coffee table, Easter gathering or any upcoming celebration with family and friends. This year still seems so very young to me – but Easter holidays are already in sight. Easter is a big deal in Germany and aside from its traditional meaning, it also makes us feel excited because when Easter comes we know that SPRING is in sight, which is so exciting, isn’t it? Easter lends a pretty good reason to set a Spring-like table in tender colors. And speaking of color, did you read that rose quartz is one of the two Pantone colors of the year for 2016? Their website said something rather interesting about their reasoning behind their pastel color choices, “As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent.” I have to agree, rose is such a serene color and perfect for the spring tabletop. Leave your stress and worry behind, sit down, relax and enjoy… In fact, I did not hesitate to use rose quartz in my Easter tabletop shown below. I hope that it inspires you to try a little rose quartz at home, too.

As you notice in my columns each month, I always decorate this little corner in my dining room near the pocket doors where the bench is. I like to make that corner fit the decor I have on the table for a cohesive look. For this look, I’ve styled some pretty flowers, hard-boiled eggs and a simple handmade wreath on the wall. The giant pleated vase was given to me by a dear friend to use for this setting, my ultimate favorite —  such an eye catcher, don’t you think? It was on the table when guests arrived, but to make room for serving, I moved it over to the bench as decor. I created a loose arrangement of ranunculus, tulips, pussy willow, white anemones, wax flowers, eucalyptus and catkin branches.

While creating this look, I discovered that wax flower is a dream candidate when it comes to crafting with flowers. The fine branches are very flexible and the flowers durable. You will find them in white and pink and in my opinion, nothing is easier than making tiny wreaths out of wax flowers! I’ve even used them to embellish the breakfast eggs on each guests’ plate.