Bonus column: Martha Stewart

The Detroit News

The most striking -- and memorable -- homes reflect the unique people who live in them. Add your style to everything from your front door to your fireplace with these customizable ideas that will fill your rooms with heart and soul.



The marigold and white lines of this abstract, art deco–inspired design (a not-so-obvious letter H) stand out on a classic gray front door.

Greet guests with an artful rendition of your last initial. The bright monogram on the front door shown above is a custom design from Designer Stencils, which will create a personalized letter in any style based on a sketch, photo or example you submit. Chose a bold color, like this orange paint, which emphasizes the crisp geometric pattern.

Sources: Custom stencil, from $15.50, designerstencils.com. Martha Stewart Crafts multisurface satin acrylic craft paints, in Pumpkin and Lake Fog, $2.50 for 2 ounces, michaels.com. Behr exterior paint, in Elephant Skin, homedepot.com.

For easy and stable stenciling, flip chairs over onto a drop cloth. Just don’t forget you’re working upside down!


Everyone gravitates toward a specific chair at the table, so make those spots official. Starting with the middle letter of each name, affix stencils to the center of chair backs. Fill in the letters with a stencil brush, let the paint dry and work your way outward.

Sources: Serena & Lily Tucker chairs, in Geranium, $188 each, serenaandlily.com. Martha Stewart Crafts Typewriter stencil set, $8; and multisurface satin acrylic craft paint, in Wedding Cake, $7 for 2 ounces, michaels.com.


If your favorite hue is a strong one, don’t shy away from it; use it to make a room’s focal point pop. This fireplace was covered with a primer tinted the same color (which helps deliver a vibrant finish with fewer coats of paint), then painted a cobalt shade to turn ho-hum woodwork into a work of art. This trick can also transform trim and hallways.

Choose art that’s roughly the size of the firebox, in a color that plays up your accent paint.

Sources: Parima Studio “Lula” art print in white wooden frame, 30 inches by 40 inches, $354, minted.com. Benjamin Moore interior paint, in Southern Belle, benjaminmoore.com.


In places where you want a less-is-more effect, paint the edges of a desk, a table or even bookshelves with a thin sliver of a punchy hue that piques your interest. For extra credit, give a lamp’s dome a matching upgrade with spray paint.

Sources: France & Søn Standard chair, in Red, $235, franceandson.com. Sherwin-Williams interior paint, in Habanero Chile, sherwin-williams.com. Krylon ColorMaster gloss enamel spray paint, in Banner Red, $7 for 12 ounces, michaels.com.


Why pick just one wallpaper if you love many? Simply keep the palette cohesive and any prints can work together when used to line open shelving.

Since the floating shelves hide the wallpaper edges, there’s no need to be ultraprecise about trimming it to line up perfectly.

Sources: Peter Fasano Woodblock Collection wallpaper, in (from top) Piccha, Pintade, Ravi and Jaya, from $147 for 5 yards, peterfasano.com. IKEA Lack wall shelves, in Birch Effect, $15 each, ikea.com. Covered bowls (top shelf), from $35 each, sarahkersten.com. Blue-and-white ceramic bowls (similar to shown), from $8 each, pearlriver.com. Hobnail cast-iron teapot, $70, teavana.com. ABC Carpet & Home Cocina tumblers, in Ivory, $25 each, abchome.com.


Mix and match textiles in similar motifs to give a bedroom serious style. A custom cover adorns this basic upholstered headboard, and a bolster seconds the statement. A third print on the lamp and bedside table (use multipurpose spray adhesive to attach it to the face of the drawer) makes the diverse patterns feel deliberate.

Add some interest to your bedroom with a medley of patterns. You can go bolder, as in this room, or be more subtle.


Trim the fabric so it wraps around the lampshade, allowing an inch or so of excess on top and bottom; then lay the fabric finished-side down, spray it with multipurpose spray adhesive and carefully roll the shade over the fabric, folding in the excess as you go.

Sources: Farrow & Ball interior paint, in Plummett, us.farrow-ball.com. Kravet Echo Design Bansuri fabric, in Slate (on headboard), $39 a yard, calicocorners.com. Mood Fabrics Spanish Orange Geometric woven fabric, $40 a yard, moodfabrics.com. Quadrille China Seas II Blue Ikat fabric, in Camel Chocolate on Tint, $162 a yard, quadrillefabrics.com. Garnet Hill Eileen Fisher Washed Linen Collection sheets and pillowcases, in Muslin, from $78, and Rippled organic-cotton coverlet and shams, in Sea Salt, from $98, garnethill.com. Threshold Wren accent lamp, in Cream, $35, target.com.


Draw decor inspiration for a playroom or reading nook from the little ones who use it the most. Scan your kids’ paintings and have them enlarged and printed on heavy-duty linen; then fashion them into oversize floor pillows.

Sources: Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra fabric, $27 a yard, spoonflower.com.


Framing isn’t just for photos: Mount objects with sentimental value -- like vintage ceramics too special for everyday use -- rather than storing them away.

To create a gallery of your happiest memories, gather your favorite vacation photos and experiment with a variety of crops. Zoom in on faces, for instance, and play up natural elements like sky and sand. First, hang an anchor image (in this case, the big photo printed on canvas) slightly off-center, and build an organic outer border with the remaining pieces.

Sources: Krylon ColorMaster gloss enamel spray paint (on frames), in Classic Gray, $7 for 12 ounces, michaels.com. CanvasPop custom print, 24 inches by 24 inches by 1 1/2 inches, originally $139, now 40% off for readers with code MARTHASTEWART40, canvaspop.com.

(Email your questions to askmartha@marthastewart.com. Please include your full name, address and daytime phone number.)