Summer is the perfect time to bring some color into your life. Check out these inspiration photos and tips for great summer decorating ideas.

Summer. It’s the season for bold blooms and emerald leaves—the season of color. If you’re like a lot of people, you’re ready to nix winter’s neutral palette and embrace the full spectrum of summer.

Of course, seasonal changes aren’t the only reason to add color to your space.

  • You may be an apartment dweller whose landlord insists on covering every wall with a coat of primer and keeping it that way.
  • You could be trying to escape the 1990s suburban development palette of beige, beige, and more beige.
  • You’ve gotten a bold new lease on life, and you want your home to show it!

Check out these summer decorating ideas, from subtle to splashy, that will help you bring some color into your space.

Add a Little Color Here and There

You don’t have to go big and paint your walls Ultra Violet (although it is the color of the year!). Instead, you can start by bringing in a bit of color using decorative accents, like pillows, florals, candles, and more.

Starting small is a great idea when you’re not quite sure what you like, and it’s a lot less expensive that reupholstering your sofa in lime green and regretting it later. You can experiment with some small accents for a while and easily switch them out when you’re ready for something new.

Make a Bigger Statement

If you’re more confident about your palette, but again, you’re not quite ready for that lime green sofa, then choose some bolder statement pieces that bring the pizazz. Larger-scale summer room décor, like a stunning piece of abstract artwork, can create bolder strokes—again, without breaking the bank.

Making a statement isn’t only about color; it’s also about expressing your personality and being surrounded by what you love. It’s okay to stick with neutral colors on your investment pieces, but when it comes to art, rugs, bedding, or other statement accents, follow your heart: Choose pieces in colors that make you feel happy in your space.

Go All In for Color

If you’re ready for a sofa decked out in a bold pattern—lime green? Hey, go big or go home!—then you’re ready to commit to upholstering in color. When you’re making these big decisions, help from an Ethan Allen designer can really make a difference. Visit a Design Center to check out our extensive fabric and leather options. Help from our designers is always free—and fabulous.

That Color Looks Great on You!

Check out the inspiration images below for some ideas, big and small, about bringing color into your space. Also, keep an eye out for our new augmented reality app, inHome—it will give you the power to preview Ethan Allen furniture and decorative accessories, right in your space.

For more decorating tips, subscribe to The Art of Making Home and check us out on Instagram @ethanallen.

If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram (and if you don’t, please do!), you’ve probably seen the unbelievably cute collection of pet portraits we’ve shared this month. Are we using cute animals to make our furniture look irresistible? You bet we are! By the way—the pets in those cute pet photos are all owned by people who work at Ethan Allen.

So how did these pet pictures come together? Our photographers started by doing some sample shots with some very helpful fluffy (and not-so-fluffy) understudies:

Then, magic time! We invited our pets to the studio and asked them to pose for the camera. The atmosphere was electric. Our photographers called out, “Work it! You’re a goddess! Give us a big smile, beautiful!”

Just kidding. We bribed them with yummy treats. LOTS of treats.

Of course, once they had curled up and gotten comfy on the furniture, they didn’t always want to jump down. So, we cajoled them. We begged. (Wait a minute—who owns whom?) Like great gymnasts, our pets nailed the dismount. Eventually. Okay, honestly, it took a lot of begging and bribing.

Not every photo we took made the collection. Check out our outtakes—the pet portraits  that were too “ruff” to post.

Now, for the finale: It’s our grand gallery, our Ethan Allen pet-palooza, a plethora of posed pet pageantry. And a reminder that Ethan Allen furniture isn’t just for looking at; it’s for living with—from high-performance fabrics that stand up to real life, to pet-friendly rugs that mix beauty with easy upkeep.

Without further ado, here’s our collection of cute pet photos:

It’s not too late to get in on the fun! Upload your more adorable pet pictures to Instagram and tag them #EthanAllenPets.



They resist stains and look great doing it: Meet our high-performance fabrics!

Do you find that the most memorable stains seem to happen in slow motion? The wine glass tips over, the cup of coffee wobbles, the kiddo squeezes the grape juice box and a purple fountain shoots upward. Slowly, torturously—because you’re too far away or too slow—the liquid falls through the air and lands before you can stop it. It leaves a permanent stain on your furniture and a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.

And how about the stains you find after it’s too late? Like when your beloved pet stains the sofa during the night and leaves it for you to find in the morning. You try to laugh it off and tell yourself that “life happens”—except in this case, life just happened to soil your major furniture investment.

Never fear; high-performance fabrics are here! Ethan Allen introduced four lines of them in Fall 2017: a linen blend, a textured chenille, a herringbone, and even a plush velvet (yes, you read that right: velvet). In Fall 2018, we’ll be introducing even more high-performance upholstery fabric options, so you can dress your furniture in style and protect it, even in your household’s heavy-use areas.

What Is a High-Performance Fabric?

High-performance fabrics give you an extra line of defense against all kinds of stains: liquid spills, oil-based blotches, and even streaks left by crayons and markers. Red wine and soda can’t sink into a fabric designed to cause liquid to bead on contact with the surface. Muddy paws are no match for a fabric that can be easily cleaned with soap and water.

It may sound like magic, but it’s actually science: a stain- and liquid-repellent material covers the surface of each fiber to prevent stains from taking hold. And when you choose high-performance fabric, you don’t have to send style to the cleaners; these fabrics feel and look beautiful in all kinds of spaces.

What Happens when Life Happens?

When paw prints, coffee spills, crayon marks, and salad dressing dribbles come into contact with a high-performance fabric, they’re easy to clean. Mix enzyme-based detergent, like Tide laundry detergent or Dawn dish detergent, and warm water. We recommend a solution that’s about 1% to 2% detergent, or about one tablespoon of detergent mixed with a quart of water, which you can easily store in a spray bottle.

Once the slow-motion spill lands—or when you find the surprise stain—spray it lightly with solution. There’s no need to soak the fabric. Blot it—don’t rub—with a paper towel. This simple process cleans up fresh marks and removes most stains.

How About when Life REALLY Happens?

These fabrics are fantastic, but they’re not bulletproof. Some stains are more challenging than others. For tougher stains, like oil-based stains, let the detergent do the work. Spray, let soak, and blot, repeating the steps until the stain has dissipated.

Some substances are really tough to remove from a fabric. The worst culprits are lipstick, nail polish, and every parent’s worst nightmare: permanent marker. Ethan Allen offers Guardsman Gold Complete furniture protection plans for those times when even high-performance isn’t enough. These plans also protect your investment when fabric rips, tears, or gets punctured or burned—in other words, when life gets overwhelming.

Life-Proofing Your Space

In today’s world, formal living rooms are largely a thing of the past. We want our kids and our pets with us, and we want them to be free to climb, play, and explore without worrying that their messes can’t be undone. Ethan Allen furniture and accessories aren’t just for looking at; they’re for living with. For even more options that can help you kid-proof, pet-proof, and life-proof your space, check out our post on high-performance pet-friendly rugs.

To get even more great tips on designing great spaces that are easy to live in, subscribe to The Art of Making Home.

As any pet owner knows, keeping a stylish home looking its best can be a constant battle. From the entryway and living room to the bedroom and dining room, our beloved animal companions have no problem resting their cute paws and claws anywhere (as you can see in this recent photo shoot we did to celebrate National Pet Month)!

But that doesn’t mean your style has to go to the dogs. Here are five easy pet-friendly furniture and home design ideas that will make a difference.


More than likely, your pets are sharing the bed with you—or taking it over! To keep the fashion factor high in the bedroom, invest in high-quality, machine washable bedding that can withstand the regular care that’s required with pets. Our bedding selection offers a wide array of beautiful styles in 100% cotton that can easily be brushed, vacuumed, washed, and ironed to keep your bed dressed in its best.

The Abriella floral duvet cover and shams offer fresh, pet-friendly bedroom style. The duvet cover features hand pockets and interior corner duvet ties that make it super easy to remove the duvet insert for cleaning.


The best furniture for pets is dressed wisely. Our all-new selection of high-performance fabrics offers worry-free fashions for indoor upholstery pieces, including plush velvet, tailored chenille, herringbone, and linen in a variety of colors and patterns. These beautiful, durable, pet-friendly fabrics repel spills, resist moisture and odors, and are easy to clean so you don’t have to sacrifice your style for your pets.

The Borini Ivory high-performance fabric has the look and feel of a classic twill so you can finally have that cozy, light colored sofa you’ve always wanted.


Food bags and pouches stuffed in cupboards can be an unruly annoyance, especially if you have multiple pets. Keeping colorful biscuits, jerkies, and other treats fresh in stylish glass containers on your kitchen counter is an easy, chic solution.

These Glass Cork jars are food-safe and come in three different sizes—great for storing different treats for multi-pet households.


Every rug may not be suitable for a pet-friendly home but every pet-friendly home can definitely have a stylish rug! Save your pretty plush styles for low-traffic areas (if there’s such a thing) and opt for indoor/outdoor rugs for your active living spaces.

The La Grange rug has the stylish look of a flat-weave wool rug; you’d never know it’s woven from high-performance fibers that can withstand muddy or litter-laden paws. Plus, it’s reversible!

The Mickey Mouse stripe rug is braided, just like a classic rag rug, from durable fibers. It’s also reversible for double the style!


From chew toys and leashes to catnip-filled mice and bouncy balls, your pets’ playthings definitely need a home! Interesting boxes and baskets can catch the clutter in style.

The lightweight yet durable Fantastic Felt storage baskets have a fun, fetching look and can easily be moved from room to room for pickup and playtime.

Where do your pets like to make themselves at home? Tag photos of your pets getting comfy in their favorite spots with #ethanallenpets on Instagram so we can see and share them. And if you need some help with pet-friendly furniture and home design ideas, just ask one of our designers—their services are free! They’re available at your nearest Design Center or they can come to your place, if you’d like.






Meet Ethan Allen Design Star Chris Nguyen

Our designers are among the best in the business—and we’re always on the lookout for the best among them. When we discover a gifted designer—like Chris Nguyen—who represents the essence of Ethan Allen, we know we’ve found our latest Design Star! Meet Chris in this exclusive interior designer interview. He has been with our Rockville, Maryland Design Center for three years. Find out what inspires him, what projects are his favorites, and what he brings to the design table. Take a peek into the life of an interior designer who truly loves his work—and makes beautiful homes happen every day.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Frederick, Maryland—my mother is Salvadoran and my father is Vietnamese—and moved to the Rockville area after high school. I studied studio art at the University of Maryland. I live with my fiancé, son, and pet Lacie. I like to paint in my free time, and other than my passion for art and design, I love dancing! I used to be a competitive ballroom dancer, and I still try to dance at least once a month.

What’s the one thing you’d like our readers to know about you, the designer?
It means a lot when clients put their trust in me and allow me to bring new life to their homes. I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they’re happy with the result.

What is your favorite design tip?
Be bold! No matter how small or seemingly unimportant, a room should always make a statement!

What Ethan Allen piece is your favorite?
I love the Parker chair. It has character—and clean, sharp lines that can really steal the show.

Complete this sentence: Every room needs …
An opportunity to become an enchanting space that evokes passion and creativity!

If you could do any project, anywhere, on any budget, what would it be?
After my own home, I would want to design a grand place that all the world would see and appreciate—something like Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Versailles!

Tell us about your favorite Ethan Allen project.
It was a project I worked on from the ground up. My client was downsizing and wanted a fresh start, so she allowed me to completely reinvent her space. We designed the entire home with Ethan Allen, and she was very pleased. In fact, we became great friends.



Find more of Chris’s work on Instagram ( chris_nguyen_designs ) and Houzz ( To see more beautiful rooms by designers like Chris, subscribe to The Art of Making Home.

Ethan Allen’s own Florence Grazi takes you behind the design to reveal the latest fabric trends!

One of Ethan Allen’s biggest passions is personalization: making it possible for you to customize our styles in ways that help you express who you are. Our collection of 1,000+ textile fabric and leathers is one of the ways we make that happen, and the mind behind our fabric collection is our director of fabric and leather, Florence Grazi.

We start by briefly introducing you to Florence and giving you a sense of her arc as both an artist and a trend spotter. Then, we’ll dive right into what’s hot in the world of fabric right now and share some images of Florence’s favorite fabrics.

Meet Florence

Florence knew she wanted to be a textile designer when she was fifteen years old. Like so many of us, she was inspired by a great teacher; in her case, the teacher was Joan Busing, a printmaker with whom Florence studied art.

Joan often invited former students to return and share their work with her current students. One such guest, a student at Syracuse University, introduced Florence to designing fabric patterns with gouache, a paint that blends some of the behaviors of watercolor with the opacity of acrylic.

“I was totally enamored,” Florence remembers. “I thought, ‘This is what I want to do. I want to do something where I can just play with this stuff all the time.'” On a college evaluation visit to Syracuse, she met a senior student in the surface pattern studio who had interviews lined up at both Ralph Lauren and Hallmark. Seeing the chance not only to perfect her art but also to build a rewarding career, Florence earned a BFA from Syracuse and started putting her knowledge to work.

She began her career with Stacy Garcia, who had just launched a design house in New York City (Florence also interned with Garcia during her degree program and considers her an important mentor). At that point, Garcia was running her startup from a basement, with a focus on design for the hospitality industry. She has since branched out into residential categories, moved into office space, and become a sought-after speaker and designer. For Garcia, Florence developed patterns for both upholstery and soft goods fabrics (think bedding and pillows), along with patterns for wallpaper and carpet.  She then moved on to Kravet, where she developed signature looks for midrange and licensed fabric collections—most notably, the Candice Olson collection.

Ethan Allen has been a place where Florence’s passions come together: designing fabrics, spotting trends, and developing finished products that people will love. She credits her predecessor, Anne Lekow (now Ethan Allen’s senior director of upholstery merchandising), as a mentor who helped her combine both her product development experience and her trend-spotting know-how with an appreciation for how every fabric will look once it’s applied to a frame.

In fact, Florence says the most rewarding part of her job is seeing the gorgeous fabrics she works so hard to develop come together with a frame to create the perfect piece—that point at which the two-dimensional becomes three-dimensional. “The coolest thing I ever saw was the conveyor belt of furniture,” she says with a laugh, recalling a visit to one of Ethan Allen’s North American plants. “I thought, ‘This is the moment. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.’ All the different furniture coming down the belt. All different patterns, all different frames. Fashion is something I look to for inspiration. This is my fashion show. That’s my runway.”

Throughout her career, Florence has had a passion for knowing what’s next in the world of textiles. Without further ado, we bring you Florence’s take on the latest fabric trends.

Pattern in Textile and Design: It’s Back!

We all know the usual advice for decorating a room: Start with neutral investment pieces and add colorful or patterned accessories to personalize the design. If Florence had her way, she’d turn that advice on its head—today.

“I think that people turn to neutral because they’re comfortable with it, and it’s an investment, and you can live with it for a long time,” she says. “I would love to start with a pattern and with color. And I’m starting to see that with some of the higher-end designers who have blogs and also in high-end publications.”

Florence has noticed a trend toward more large-scale botanical patterns, including tropical prints and florals. “There’s really an emphasis on bring the outdoors in,” says Florence, “but what’s next for florals? I don’t know that it’s necessarily super traditional or formal. It’s like a new construction. Florals that are big bouquets—they’re showing them now at triple the scale. Old-school bouquets shown on a black ground at twice the size. It’s all about changing something to make it for today rather than repeating history.”

In fact, people seem to want a fresh take on something already made: “A really traditional damask from the eighteenth century can be new again with a change in construction or a change in color.” Florence points to a metallic damask that Ethan Allen recently released, a metallic print on a linen ground. “It’s high and low. I love the juxtaposition, the mix of something shiny with something dry.” Even solids, she says, are incorporating that mix of matte and sheen to add a sense of dimension.

Florence also loves to see ancient techniques like block printing, which originated in ninth-century China during the Tang Dynasty, take on new life in today’s fabric patterns. One of the fabrics she developed for Ethan Allen’s Passport look, Mandron Pool, is a great example. See how this performance fabric is made.

Color Is Everything

Florence’s love for pattern goes back to the days she spent in her high school teacher’s studio. “It’s my core,” she says. “It’s my heartbeat.” She’s equally passionate about color, and that passion is essential because textile fabrics are often the first place Ethan Allen’s merchandising team starts when creating a new look.

For Uptown, which released in Spring 2018, Florence found inspiration at a textile fair she attended in Italy. What she saw helped her develop the signature Uptown palette, which consists of deep jewel tones and light gemstone hues. Amethyst and eucalyptus, a color Florence describes as “slate-y teal,” are the core colors.

To pair beautifully with Florence’s Uptown palette, Ethan Allen created an all-new finish called champagne brass. The team also chose cooler brown tones for many of its wood finishes, which look gorgeous with the fabric palette and the new finish—all built around Florence’s initial concepts.

“This is the thing about color and design, period,” Florence says. “It stems from somewhere in history; it regenerates itself. People say, ‘We’ve been there; we’ve done this.’ Not this way. It’s all about figuring out the angle.”

When it comes to color, Florence sees pastels as the on trend, particularly grayed-out hues that pair beautifully with finishes like lacquer, crystal, brushed metal, or Lucite. “I think what’s happening is there are light grayed pastels, like blush, mint, and lavender—I think these are becoming the new forms of neutrals. Also light, soft grays rather than charcoal.” In other words, blush is so much more than millennial pink; it’s en vogue because it pairs so beautifully with stylish finishes, wall colors, fabrics, and decorative elements. Other on-trend colors that pair beautifully with gray include—

  • Greens are available in a wide range of shades—eucalyptus, sage, olive, moss, grass—and they have the added benefit of bringing the outdoors in. One example is Ethan Allen’s Lallana Emerald fabric, a bold tropical print in a range of greens, with a hand-sketched look that makes it modern and fresh.
  • Apricots that are less coral and more soft and fresh; think a light peach.
  • Limoncello, which Florence describes as a yellow with a hint of Dijon mustard.
  • White in shades of pearl and graceful cream; with today’s high-performance fabrics, you can upholster in white without worrying that stains and spills will shorten the life of your fabric.

Again, it goes back to interpreting familiar things in new ways. “I love anything that has a little bit of history. It makes something feel grounded. Color is an opportunity to set a mood, where depending on what you’re going for, you can make something more serene or more exciting.”

Texture Trends

Not everyone is up for upholstering their sofa in a bold pattern, and that’s okay! Trendy textured fabrics have become a great way to add visual movement to larger furnishings; Florence calls them “plains with character.”

Tone-on-tone patterns, like herringbone, perform the function of a solid while adding dimension. “The way you can keep things interesting is by adding texture,” she says. “People are using texture on their large-scale pieces. That becomes a bit of a statement, but it’s soft, and it’s easy to live with.”

Velvets have been on trend for a while, and they’re gorgeous on large-scale pieces. (We featured our Oxford sofa in lush green velvet on the cover of our February 2018 magazine, and we even have high-performance velvets, like our Ramona Velvet in Ballet Pink.) Another on-trend textured choice for a sofa or sectional is bouclé, which Florence says can look incredibly chic when it’s paired with beautiful accent pillows and textiles.

And surprise!—tailored chenille is also in vogue, and Florence isn’t talking about your grandmother’s chenille. Today’s on-trend chenilles get their look less from pile and more from fill and warp direction.

Putting It All Together

Florence spots trends in Manhattan, where she lives, and also draws inspiration from New York’s thriving world of fashion. She talks to her huge network of suppliers to see what they’re developing, and she shows them what she’s creating to get a feel for how new designs could perform on the market.

Staying on trend is important, but what ultimately matters to Florence is quality. “I’m a value shopper. I want to make sure I’m getting the best things for my buck,” she concludes. “Since you’re paying what you’re paying for a piece of furniture, I want to make sure every fabric I put out there for anyone to live with has all the design touches that our clients deserve.”

If you enjoyed meeting Florence and getting the lowdown on fabric trends, here’s what to do next:

  • Follow Florence on Instagram @friendsoflorence, and keep an eye out for her takeover of Ethan Allen’s Instagram account on May 18.
  • Share ways you’ve personalized Ethan Allen furnishings with creative fabric choices, tagging them #EthanAllenDesign—we like to see them and share our favorites!
  • Get the latest design tips and trends by subscribing to The Art of Making Home.


They say a woman’s place is in the home, but we think it’s in the lab, too. This Mother’s Day, instead of offering up a breakfast-in-bed menu or list of last-minute gift ideas, we’re giving a shout-out to women whose inventions have made our homes safer, smarter, healthier, more comfortable—better.

These are women who saw necessity as opportunity, women who imagined things that never were and made them happen. They were teachers, engineers, factory workers, scientists, housewives. And while they were not all mothers in the literal sense, we’re honoring them anyway—they’re all mothers of invention.


Josephine Cochrane (1839–1913)

Josephine Cochrane and her dish-washing machine, c. 1886

So maybe it wasn’t altruism that inspired this invention, but we still have socialite Josephine Cochrane to thank for saving us all from dishpan hands. In the mid-1880s, the well-to-do hostess from Shelbyville, Illinois, was known for her frequent, lavish dinner parties. Needless to say, there was always a lot of cleanup to do, but Josephine didn’t give much thought to the tedious task that fell to her kitchen staff—until she discovered they were chipping her fine china.

Fed up, she took matters into her own hands and designed the first mechanical dishwashing machine that actually worked. She was awarded a patent in 1886 and founded a company (eventually known as KitchenAid) that would manufacture her machine, but it would be decades before the dishwasher became a commercially successful household appliance.

Maria Telkes (1900–1995)

Scientist Maria Telkes was known as “The Sun Queen.”

Maria Telkes got the sun in her eyes at an early age. Even in high school, the Hungary native found solar energy intriguing. At 25, after earning a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, Maria emigrated to the U.S., where she worked as a biophysicist and later as a research engineer in the field of energy conversion. In 1940, she joined the solar research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she and architect Eleanor Raymond designed and built the Dover Sun House, the first completely solar-heated home. A prolific inventor who was awarded twenty patents over the course of her life, Maria also designed the first simple, easily operated solar oven for use in developing countries.

Sarah E. Goode (c. 1855–1905)

Former slave-turned-entrepreneur Sarah E. Goode.

There was no getting up on the wrong side of the bed for many who lived in the working-class neighborhoods of Chicago after the Civil War. Apartments were small and cramped, so beds were often jammed into corners, taking up the lion’s share of floor space. Sarah E. Goode would have none of it. Born into slavery around 1855, Goode and her husband Archibald, a carpenter, moved to Chicago after the war, where they opened a furniture store.

Because so many of their customers lived in tight quarters, Goode invented what she called a “folding cabinet bed,” which, when not in use, folded up and served as a rolltop desk. It inspired the later, popular Murphy bed, but Goode made history for another reason:  She was the first African-American woman to be granted a U.S. patent.

Melitta Bentz (1873–1950)

Melitta Bentz, inventor of the first paper coffee filter.

If this inventor’s name sounds familiar, it’s because the name she made for herself over a century ago is still well represented in the coffee aisle of your local supermarket. Melitta Bentz went from clever housewife to inventor, entrepreneur, and household name in 1908 when she registered a humble invention she called a “Filter Top Device Lined with Filter Paper” with the patent office in Dresden, Germany.

Melitta had grown tired of coffee that was overly bitter and full of grounds—plus she hated cleaning the sticky mess at the bottom of her pot. One day she punched holes in the bottom of the pot, and lined the inside with a sheet of blotter paper ripped from a school notebook. She filled the pot with grounds, set it over a coffee cup, poured boiling water over it—and the first disposable coffee filter was born. The Melitta company still manufactures paper filters today—along with ground coffee, single-serve coffee, coffee makers, pour-over manual coffee brewers, and accessories.

Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922–1999)

Home security system inventor Marie Van Brittan Brown.

This invention’s got nothing on today’s smart houses, but hey, we all have to start somewhere. In this case, “somewhere” is Marie Van Brittan Brown’s hometown of Jamaica, Queens, where she lived with her husband, Albert Brown, an electronics technician.

A nurse who worked odd shifts, Marie often worried about her safety in their high-crime neighborhood, so she designed a security system, showing camera images of the front door, that could be operated from her bedroom. She and Albert created a prototype that worked, and were granted a patent for the invention in 1966. Home security system technology has come a long way since then, but it was Marie’s invention that inspired it.

Lillian Gilbreth (1878–1972)


Lillian Gilbreth: She invented the kitchen triangle, too.


Lillian Gilbreth made trash disposal a lot less icky when she invented a can with a lid that opened with the touch of a foot. But that doesn’t begin to tell the story of a woman who dedicated her life to problem solving both inside (she came up with the idea of shelves inside refrigerator doors—who knew?) and outside the home. Dubbed the “mother of modern management,” the inventor of the foot pedal trashcan was an author, industrial engineer, and mother of twelve, who with her engineer husband, Frank, tested efficiency ideas in their New Jersey home. Two of their children later wrote a best seller about growing up in the Gilbreth household; Hollywood turned it into a movie: Cheaper by the Dozen (1950).

Ruth Wakefield (1903–1977)

Ruth Wakefield, the mother of the chocolate chip cookie.

One of our favorite home improvements of all time is the delicious aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. Thank you, Ruth Wakefield!

Ruth was a dietician who, with her husband, Kenneth, ran a roadside inn in Massachusetts in the 1930s. Ruth was known for her cooking, especially her homemade desserts, so travelers looked forward to stopping at the Toll House Inn (see where we’re going with this?).

Legend has it that one day, Ruth was baking a batch of cookies when she discovered she was out of baker’s chocolate. She substituted broken pieces of Nestle’s semisweet chocolate, but they didn’t melt as expected. The result was the accidental invention of what Ruth called Toll House Crunch Cookies. They were an immediate hit, and according to most surveys taken over the years, the chocolate chip remains the most popular cookie in America.

Famous Instagram Dogs: Meet Oliver!

In February, we introduced Design Star Nikki Brouillette and mentioned that in addition to designing, cooking, and crocheting, she is the proud caretaker of one of the world’s most famous Instagram dogs: Oliver in Charge (@oliver_in_charge). With a community of over 15,600 followers, it’s fair to say he’s about the most famous shih tzu Instagram has ever seen—and even if he’s not the most famous, we definitely think he’s the most adorable!

In honor of National Pet Month, we sat down with Oliver and Nikki for this exclusive interview. We’d like to thank Oliver for being so generous with his time, and we thank Nikki for translating our questions into dog language (and translating Oliver’s answers to human!).

Tell us about when Nikki adopted you.

I was born on March 25, 2008, and lived with my breeder for three months before Nikki adopted me. She saw me running back and forth, took one look at me, and immediately said, “You look like an Oliver!” We’ve been together ever since.

How did you end up on Instagram?

My mom, Nikki (@eadesignernikki), started following some other dogs on Instagram. She decided I was just as cute as they were, so she encouraged me to create my own account in May 2016. We love interacting with my followers and meeting other pets and their people online. One time, Nikki posted a video of me sitting on my back paws, begging for a cookie (I LOVE cookies!), and the video got over 30,000 views!

Since your mom is an Ethan Allen Design Star, we have to ask: What’s your favorite piece of Ethan Allen furniture?

Visiting Nikki’s Design Center in San Marcos is so much fun. I love to check out all the new furniture. My absolute favorite piece is our Dylan slipcovered sofa. I love to roll around on it, rub my face on it, and take naps on it, too. Nikki loves it because the slipcovers are stain protected and double-stitched for extra durability, which makes it really pet friendly. Plus, a lot of Ethan Allen pillows can be made with high-performance fabrics for additional pet-proofing.


What do you and Nikki like doing together?

In addition to hanging out at home, making friends on Instagram, and helping out at Ethan Allen, we like to make a positive difference in our community. I was featured by ABC 7, a local TV station in Los Angeles, to help share the news when Governor Jerry Brown signed an important bill allowing people to break car windows when they spot pets in a hot car and there’s no other way to rescue them.

We’re not always serious; another thing we LOVE is spa day. I live in Southern California, so I need to look as fabulous as possible. I love to relax while I get washed and trimmed by my groomer @nikkibrillhart. There are usually cookies involved, too!

So cookies are your favorite treats? And do you have any favorite toys?

Cookies ARE my favorite treats—paws down. If you give me a cookie, I am your new best friend.

As far as toys go, I love plushies of all kinds, from stuffed animals to plush food (I have a pizza slice and a pineapple!). I love it when Nikki tosses them and I fetch them. It’s great exercise, especially when the plushy is bigger than I am—I love a challenge!

We know Nikki is a friend to you; she’s helped you become one of the world’s most famous Instagram dogs. How do you support Nikki in return?

Besides hanging out at home, spending time at Ethan Allen, and having awesome adventures to share with my fans, I do my best to be a good friend to Nikki when she’s going through tough times. When Nikki’s mom passed away, I made sure that I ran to greet her as soon as she came home, and I gave her lots of snuggles and kisses so she would know she was loved. I chased my plushies, begged for cookies, and asked her to take me on walks and car rides—anything I could to make her feel better when she was sad. She’s my best friend, forever and always. I’m so glad she’s my human.

For the Pet in Your Life

Even pets that aren’t famous Instagram dogs  are important members of the family. Subscribe to our blog this month for tips on pet-friendly design, pet-friendly products for your home—and adorable pet portraits!

COMING SOON: @Oliver_in_Charge is taking over Ethan Allen’s Instagram account (@ethanallen) on May 11! Join the fun with Oliver—and be sure to follow us for gorgeous design and inspiration images. We love to see and share what you post, so make sure to

  • Tag your pet images with #EthanAllenPets
  • Tag your design images with #EthanAllenDesign


Our four-legged friends spend a lot of time on our rugs. And occasionally—for reasons pet owners are all too familiar with!— the rug gets the worse end of the deal. That’s why pet-friendly rugs are essential household items for the savvy pet owner. To be considered pet friendly, a rug has to meet three nonnegotiable criteria:

  1. Durable
  2. Stain resistant
  3. Easy to clean

We have some rug recommendations that are sure to stand up to almost anything Fido and Fluffy can throw at them, from muddy paws to sharpening claws. These are also great rugs for high-traffic areas.

Pet-Friendly Rugs for Simple, Sturdy Elegance

If your pet prefers to snooze on a colorful rug with a subtle pattern, both our Willow Grove and Splendor Lake rugs are great options.

The Willow Grove rug is a handwoven rug with a herringbone pattern. It’s made from 100% UV stabilized polyethylene terephthalate—also known as PET, what a coincidence!—which is a durable polyester fiber created from recycled plastics.

Another option, made from similar materials, is our Splendor Lake rug. This one has a subtle trellis pattern, and, like Willow Grove, is woven by hand.

Both of these are indoor-outdoor rugs that are fade resistant with UV protection. PET is a quick-drying material that doesn’t absorb liquids, so it’s not prone to mold or mildew. These rugs are available in six colors and in three sizes to fit your space: 2’3″ x 3′, 5′ x 8′, and 8′ x 10′. Even better: They’re reversible for long-lasting value.

Rugs that Make a Bolder Statement

Sometimes, a space needs some bold pattern to spice it up. These striped pet-friendly rugs will wake up your space so your pet can cavort in style.

Our La Grange rug is perfect for a relaxed space and versatile; you can easily picture it in a cottage or in an urban loft. It has a flat weave that’s handwoven from the same high-performance fibers as Willow Grove and Splendor Lake. Like those two rugs, it’s also reversible, and it’s an indoor-outdoor option.

La Grange is available in black, navy, or camel with a contrasting ivory stripe. It’s also available in three sizes: 2’3″ x 3′, 5′ x 8′, and 8′ x 10′.

Let’s turn to a different kind of striped statement: a traditional rag rug look with a slightly whimsical pattern. This rug is crafted from 100% polypropylene in a traditional braided pattern, and it’s sewn around the sides to ensure it doesn’t unravel.

You’ll never guess where we got the idea for this pattern: Mickey Mouse. That’s right—this Mickey Mouse stripe rug is actually from our Ethan Allen | Disney collection, and it’s inspired by classic color combos from early Disney cartoons. It’s traditional with a twist, and when people ask you about it, you’ll have an interesting story to share! Like our other rugs, it meets the pet-friendly criteria and can be used indoors and out.

The reversible Mickey Mouse stripe rug is available in three color combos and in three sizes: 5′ x 7′, 6′ x 9′, and 8′ x 10′.

Rugs for Kids’ Rooms

Mickey Mouse isn’t only for grown-ups. We have another Disney-inspired option for your favorite kiddo (or the kid in you): our braided Mickey Mouse rug.

Like the Mickey Mouse stripe rug we showed you earlier, this one is reversible, braided, and made from 100% polypropylene, a material that stands up to all kinds of messes, whether they’re made by little humans or furry companions.

We love the concentric braid pattern and the bold color options (there are four). We also love the idea that you can place this rug anywhere. You can stand on it in front of your baby’s crib and sing lullabies, or you can stand on it in front of your kitchen sink, doing dishes while your cat or dog watches (they want to help you, but they don’t have opposable thumbs).

One More Thing

We have a gorgeous new line of Home & Garden fabrics coming out, including indoor-outdoor rugs that meet all the pet-friendly criteria. Take a peek at them in our latest H&G lookbook if you need even more pet-friendly rugs to choose from!

Here’s to all the fun we have with our pets—and how nice it is when the cleanup is easy!