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BHG: Better Home = Better Life

At the heart of most New Year’s resolutions is the desire for a better and more meaningful life. And the path to a better life often starts at home.

“We are firm believers that making your home better makes your life better,” said Oma Blaise Ford, executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. “Your home is an extension of who you are, and if a new color on the wall or a new throw pillow makes you smile, that adds to your happiness.”Better Homes and Gardens, which is one of the world’s greatest sources of inspiring ideas for home and garden, sees itself as much more than a decorating magazine.

BHG Editor Oma Ford and me

“We’re really about living well in your home,” said Oma. “One of the greatest passions of people today is creating a wonderful life at home for family and friends.” BHG taps this passion so well that  it is the  number one women’s magazine in the U.S. in reach, and the number 2 magazine of any category ( behind only People), with 40 million highly engaged readers.

As a life-long writer and furniture enthusiast, I’ve always looked at BHG as the model of inspiring and relevant editorial for home furnishings. So imagine my delight at the opportunity to meet Oma recently and spend an hour with her talking about home ideas and trends for 2012.

As Oma and I shared a delicious breakfast of pumpkin waffles, she offered some of these ideas for making your home better and home trends that she sees on the horizon for 2012:

1. Tackle one small area of clutter. “Pick a trouble spot and organize it. It is amazing what a difference that makes not only in how your home looks but how you feel about your home.” The spot could be a closet or a mudroom or an entryway. Or you could get inventive and transform an unused area – like the area beneath the staircase in this photo – to a place of order and display.

Photo courtesy BHG

Or you could invest in a few nice baskets and store items like cards, notes and letters or old bills, tax records or personal files in the baskets. Then place the baskets neatly on the lower shelf of a console or credenza. As seen in this photo, these important papers are out of sight but easily accessible:

Photo courtesy BHG

2. Add your favorite color. “Pick a color that makes you feel good and add it to your home,” said Oma. It could be through a towel, a vase, some new bedding or painting a room to give it a lift.”

3. Freshen up with flowers. “I personally love fresh flowers,” she said. “If your home feels dull, add something alive. Just a small bouquet can make a big difference, by your bedside or in the kitchen.” Oma likes simple arrangements like russet roses accented by a sprig of fall leaves.”

What are some of the biggest home trends Oma is seeing for 2012?

1. The return of pattern and texture. “There’s almost nothing that adds more energy to a room than adding a little bit of pattern,” Oma said. “And it is so easy to add texture or pattern with just a small piece of art work, a patterned tray or runner on your dining room table, or accent pillows.”

Photo courtesy BHG

2. The hard and soft connection. Industrial accents are gaining momentum, said Oma. “The idea is to mix these industrial pieces with softer items, such as a reclaimed zinc light fixture in a bathroom, or a metal console in a living room. It’s the mixture of hard and soft that makes the room interesting.”

Photo courtesy BHG

3. Color Renaissance. “I think we will see some interesting things happening in furniture color,” said Oma. “A citron rattan chair, a comfortable living room chair in eggplant. There’s more willingness to add unexpected and daring color.”

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