AT HOME WITH MATT & SHARI: A behind-the-scenes look at new trends

Like many of you, I receive several magazines or catalogs in my mailbox everyday. I use them to keep a finger on the pulse of interior design. Mostly I look at furniture style, but recently, I noticed the "stuff" in the pictures -- you know, the things they add to make it look like they are shooting in someone's home.

It's the accessories, along with the furnishings, color and pattern that really pull the magazine and catalog looks together. To my surprise, some of the things I saw were funny, some were odd, some terrific and some were just wrong.

Here's what I'm talking about, grab a catalog and take a look.

See if you can find a bookshelf with the bindings of the books facing the back of the bookshelf! Yes, this does neaten up the look of the books because you don't have that riotous conglomeration of colors coming at you, stealing the show from your furniture. However, if you have that many books, you must be a reader or collector and find interest if not beauty in the various bindings. You might even want to loan one of them out to someone, and find it today rather than having to turn each book around checkout the title on the hidden binding! To me this is quite odd.

And, have you seen artwork hung over the books in a bookshelf, thus covering them completely? Why even have the books? To me, this one is just plain wrong.

I've also noticed and I'm sure you have too, that glass vases are for just about everything but flowers!

Now I don't want you to think I'm too traditional or just being negative about everything new, because this trend, I LOVE! Recently I have seen vases or glass containers filled with silverware, nautical rope, clams, candles, breadsticks, starfish, lemons, sand, pebbles, moss, coral, swizzle sticks, and low and behold, yes, flowers.

But that is the exception, not the rule. In fact, it seems one large palm frond or perhaps two smaller fern fronds are plenty in a glass's certainly cheaper than a dozen roses! But to me this trend is terrific.

I have collected shells my whole adult life and have them displayed in tall glass vases. I also have a group of glass jars full of antique buttons that my grandmother gave to me and I cherish them for obvious reasons along with the joy of the pretty collection of colors. My son's marbles look fantastic in glass vases and since they are more for looks than use, the glass is OK.

Well, those are the main things I'm seeing "behind the scenes" if you will.

It's added a whole new dimension to my constant trend tracking. You know, if I get good at this, I might be able to create some of these unique ideas for myself. Hmm, what do you think about slip covering the top of your dining table instead of using a tablecloth?

Or creating one long rectangular pillow to fit across your entire sofa instead of using a variety of square ones?

Black and white is so popular today could newspapers be folded into boxes to be used a decorative storage for CD's or DVD's?

My partner and co-host, Matt Fox, seems to think anything's possible. What new ideas are possible in your world?

Matt Fox and Shari Hiller, authors of "Matt and Shari's Great Weekend Projects (DRG Publishers), also appear together frequently on HGTV.