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The 15 Design Articles You Loved the Most in 2016

January 11, 2017

Unfussy and super elegant in appearance. Full of good tips and ideas, but never condescending (or uppity!). High-reward for not too much work involved, but occasionally ambitious. These are the things we would have guessed you'd want from our articles about home and design, and we were right.

Below are our fifteen most popular home posts of 2016—featuring bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, and of course kitchens and their accessories—and some thoughts on what we learned from seeing you love them.


#15

A Duvet Cover Hack We're Stealing from Hotel Bedding

Instead of using a duvet cover (which can be ornery to take off and put on every time you go to wash it, not to mention expensive) try layering two flat sheets on either side of your comforter. Then, the trick: a smart way to fold the top section so it's nice and tidy (there's a little gif in the post to show you how). Same look, less hassle.

What we learned: All those things that annoy us about keeping up a pretty home? They bug you, too—so it's worth finding a better way.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Wood in constant contact with water, as inevitably happens with a dish drainer, doesn't seem like such a great idea. The wooden rods appear not to have a durable waterproofing finish on them. Your thoughts? No instructions on this were included. Thank you. ;o)”
— AntoniaJames
Comment

The cuddly sheets we used to shoot it, and some more hotel-inspired design tricks:


#14

The Best Oils & Techniques for Finishing Wooden Kitchen Tools

What we learned: Expert coverage on common (but confusing) kitchen upkeep tasks are welcome.


#13

How I Broke All Marie Kondo's Rules & Still Tidied My Kitchen

You weren't deterred by my horrifying photography skills, or the fact that I wrote about cleaning out my kitchen four times that week, or my failure to abide by Marie Kondo's rules. (Thank you!)

What we learned: You like it when we try something out—be that a trend, a tip, or a popular method—and tell you what actually happens. The good and the bad.

A few more posts from that series:


#12

5 Ways to Freshen Up a Space Without Spending a Cent

Try swapping some of your artwork around tonight and see if it doesn't make you feel refreshed.

What we learned: Little things that make a big difference? More of that, please.


#11

3 Decorating "Tricks" So Transformative You Can Think of Them as Rules

"Tricks," because once upon a time not too long ago the idea of hanging your curtains closer to the ceiling was not a thing—someone gave it a whirl, the move caught fire as a trend, and suddenly it's Interior Design 101.

What we learned: Interior Design 101—minus the textbook—is right up your alley.


#10

A DIY Tiny Bathroom Renovation: Before, "Almost-After" & Tips

When our wonderful contributor Liz Johnson told me she'd like to write about the bathroom makeover she masterminded herself, I knew it'd be a stunner (proof of her good taste, here). It was also ingenious and budget-friendly. What could be better?

What we learned: Again, real experiences (and real homes! and makeovers! and budget-friendly fixes!) are often the most compelling way to learn.

A few bathroom fixtures from our Shop that are a little like instant makeovers:


#9

17 Festive, Inexpensive Ways to Deck Your Table & Halls

What we learned: The key here was budget-friendly—and since we tend towards natural, no-frills solutions anyway we can easily bring you more of that.

Two of my favorite decorative flourishes from the Shop that don't require the big bucks:


#8

13 of the Best Movie Set Kitchens of All Time

The alternative headline for this article was All the Nancy Meyers Movie Set Kitchens Ever. (You probably still would have liked it!)

What we learned: Movie sets! We'll bring you more of these.


#7

How to Organize a Refrigerator

What we learned: Let no kitchen organizing project go undiscussed.


#6 + #5

The Pans That French Mamas Use Instead of Cast Iron

+

How 2 Brothers Reinvented the Cast Iron Skillet

What we learned: More cast iron innovation, on the double! (Spoiler: We're bringing a lightweight, super smooth, very thoughtfully designed cast iron skillet to our Shop very soon.)


#4

Amanda Hesser's Best Tips for a Clean, Organized Pantry

From our resident organizing queen herself, tips on everything from the best containers (and markers!) to buy to what, exactly, to put on each shelf. You'll be tackling yours in no time.

What we learned: Again, that organizing tips know no limit in your estimation—and that you like hearing from our trusty co-founders!

Some pantry organizers, from our Shop:


#3

The One-Inch Way to Make Your Home Look More Welcoming

I just hung curtains myself and put this into effect—100% warming, cozying, and welcoming.

What we learned: Easy, high-impact fixes are always welcome (and you even like hearing about curtains and bed skirts—woo hoo!).


#2

Toss These Kitchen Items, Feel Instantly Better

You already know you don't need everything you own, but leave it to Alice Medrich to tell you precisely what needs to go (you'll thank her!).

What we learned: Knowing what to get rid of is just as important as knowing the best things to get.


#1

7 Types of Fruit Trees You Can Grow in Your Living Room

Maybe it was the perfect balance of food, and DIY, and home design—maybe it was the empowering tone. Either way, you went nuts for these indoor fruit tree suggestions, which (with a lot of TLC and direct sunlight) can flourish by a window in your living room.

What we learned: Indoor gardening that might also serve your cooking needs? Got it.

What were your favorite home design posts that didn't make our top 15? Tell us in the comments.

6 Comments

AntoniaJames January 11, 2017
Speaking of taking care of wooden finishes . . . should I be doing what's recommended above on the wooden handles of my dish drainer from the e-commerce site? Wood in constant contact with water, as inevitably happens with a dish drainer, doesn't seem like such a great idea. The wooden rods appear not to have a durable waterproofing finish on them. Your thoughts? No instructions on this were included. Thank you. ;o)
 
Author Comment
Amanda S. January 11, 2017
Hi Antonia! We're contacting the maker to see what they recommend (you do mean this dish rack, correct? https://food52.com/shop/products/3063-wood-handled-dish-rack).
 
AntoniaJames January 11, 2017
Indeed, although may I respectfully suggest that it be used not as shown in the photo on the product page, but rotated 90 degrees? It more efficiently uses your counter space and makes more sense given the biomechanics of dishwashing. Lovely item, however. A nice upgrade any kitchen. ;o)
 
Smaug January 12, 2017
Can't speak to your particular situation, but as a rule you will get much more moisture protection from penetrating oils- which won't necessarily be visible as a finish- than with any sort of surface finish.
 
Author Comment
Amanda S. January 12, 2017
Antonia, the makers reports there is indeed a lacquer finish on the handles, so they're water-resistant. (Beyond that they just recommend keeping them clear of thinners, bleaches, and benzines, as far as care goes.) I also agree with Smaug that if you'd like to add a protective layer after some time, a food-safe oil is a good idea.
 
Smaug January 12, 2017
Hmm- not so good. Lacquer will offer very little protection in this situation and will not wear well- it's loved by manufacturers for it's speed and versatility, but it's not a really strong finish. Unfortunately, too late for oil. Polymerizing oil finishes will form a surface finish of sorts, but it's very weak- their value in waterproofing is that they will penetrate the wood and make a layer that won't wear off, but for that they need to be applied to bare wood. However, unless your kitchen is awfully humid, a dish drainer shouldn't be too subject to wood movement and probably won't stay wet long enough to grow mold or to actually rot- best not to put it away in a closed space until it's had some time to air dry, though.