Archive for March, 2010

Mar 30 2010

Adding Country and Western Decor to Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to live in those times when men worked outside on the ranch or farm and women did the cooking and other household duties? Your mind goes back to a time wh en family was at the center of people’s lives, where all gathered around a large country wood dining table to share a tasty home-cooked meal. To us, these times in the country seem more relaxing, a place where beautiful lush green grass met azure blue skies. Capture this sense of eras gone by with a country and western décor in your home.

Re-creating the Past

You can easily create this comfortable, welcoming look in your home. Many people want a home that is elegant and stately looking. But if your goal is that all who enter your home instantly feel at ease and relaxed, then a country and western décor may be perfect for you. You décor will exude the feeling that you open your home up to anyone and everyone, and your visitors would stay forever if only they could. Your guests will feel this much at home when they come to visit. After all, the atmosphere that visitors see and feel has everything to do with your décor.

A country and western style helps a home to look warm and lived-in. Part of its charm is all the wood and rustic colors that are hallmarks of this style. For an authentic, old-time look, go with wood floors and exposed wooden beams on the ceiling.

In this style, kitchens are usually oversized and full of color. Common in a country/western kitchen are sunflowers, roosters, old teapot collections, gingham tablecloths, and wrought-iron baker’s racks. Doesn’t this sound just like grandma’s kitchen? While it would be nice to go back to that slower-paced life, creating the look in your home is the next best thing.

With a country and western theme, a little paint can go a long way. You can add to the rich look by using rustic colors such as tan, brown, forest green, dark blue, and maroon. All you need is a few western striped throw rugs containing these colors scattered here and there on the wood floor, and you will have created an amazing look.

More Western Than Country

If you want a more western look than country, you can create a wonderful décor by decorating with horseshoes and rodeo-themed throws. Throws are great, as they can be used in so many different ways. You might use one to cover up a worn spot on the sofa, or hook one lazily over the back of a rocking chair. You might even create an amazing focal point and hang one on a bare wall.

Other great additions include table runners and coasters that share the western theme. Hang a wooden wagon wheel or a cowboy hat on the wall to create the ultimate western effect. If you’re looking for something original that’s sure to be a conversation piece, there are even cowboy boot planters for your oak end tables you can purchase. There are plenty of western-themed accessories to choose from, from wrought-iron candle holders in the shape of horses to huge Texas star wall hangings. All will give your home the look of days long past, of families gathering around a hearth after a long, hard day on the ranch. These days, you can choose from a variety of western-themed accessories, from huge Texas star wall hangings to wrought-iron candle holders in the shape of horses, that will give your home a look of days long past-when family life meant gathering together after a long, hard day on the ranch.

A Style That’s Easy to Live With

Decorating your home with a country and western décor is easy, and you will create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that your entire family will love. Your guests will love your inviting home on the range too, and you may be hard-pressed to get them to go home.

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Mar 29 2010

Choosing the Right Window Treatments For Your Home

Unfortunately, most people don’t think much about the way the windows in their home look. Truth be told, the window treatments you choose can transform the look from dull to dazzling! Mini blinds and curtains are not the only choices available.

Of course, you want to keep other things in mind when choosing window treatments. Privacy and the level of sunlight that comes in are two things you want to consider as well. You want to choose something that flows with your décor and doesn’t clash.

Some Reasonable Choices

Your choice in window treatments will depend largely on what room you want them for. In a bedroom, you may want a shade or blind that is made of wood, or darker colored so that a minimal amount of light comes in.

For a kitchen, many people prefer sunshine and brightness; so you may want a lightweight shade or mini blind for this room. Whether you choose vertical or horizontal blinds is personal preference. You may want to use a light colored wood shutter instead, one that you can open up so that you get full benefit of the natural sunlight.

In the living area, window treatments with more color are a good choice. You cannot imagine just how much adding color around your windows updates the look of your home! Choose colored shades made of luxurious fabrics or vinyl – it is really up to you. Consider your lighting needs, privacy and price when purchasing treatments for your windows.

Privacy Counts as Well

Many people feel more secure at night when they know that no one can see inside their home. For this reason, some choose to hang a shade that is usually available at specialty stores. A one-way-view custom roller shade is made of a material that is perforated. When pulled down over the window, light still penetrates and you can see out, but any would-be intruder cannot see in.

If you love the look of sheer curtains but still want some privacy in the evenings, you can have the best of both worlds! Simply use sheer curtains that are about three times as wide as the window; the gathers will be so dense that anyone outside would have a hard time seeing in. Voile and batiste are great fabrics for this use.

Size Plays a Role

Have an extremely large window? If you have a window that is 6 or 7 feet wide, you may want to consider using blinds and draperies. Install panels of blinds across the width of the window, and then hang richly textured drapes to add style and color. The blinds offer light control and privacy, while the draperies dress up the room.

If the window in question takes up nearly an entire wall, you may want to consider installing a track across the entire width. Once the drapes or preferred curtains are hung, you can close them partially around the window, or open them up completely to expose the entire wall and window. This is a truly unique look that is certain to attract attention.

No matter what your privacy, lighting and style needs, today’s window treatments let you have the best of both worlds – the amount of light you want, and the extra punch of style you need; all while still allowing you privacy in the wee hours.

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Mar 25 2010

Creating a Lavish Look for Your Home on Budget

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

You flip through the magazines showcasing rich, elegant looking interiors and dream of what it would be like if only you had the money to create such awe-inspiring settings. The truth is, not many people have the money required to furnish a home so lavishly. What it takes to make a room eye catching and inviting doesn’t require much money at all – just a little of your own unique personality.

Elegance without Expense

Many people think that in order to transform the look of a room they must spend big bucks. New furniture, hangings for the walls, carpet, flooring, accents, etc. You will be glad to know that you can create a dramatic impact without spending tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, for just a few hundred you can create a look that will rival any in the dreamy homes you’ve seen in the home decorating magazines.

What you must do is put some of your own personality in to the décor. You may decorate your home according to the latest trends, or what you think others will find attractive. This is what most people do, and in the end it isn’t really the look that they want. It isn’t personal enough, it all seems a little – well, contrived. From bland colored walls to pictures that don’t really have any personal ties, and windows without any impact. It’s all just “stuff” that is there to make your home look exquisite, but it isn’t working. Besides inflicting some of your own unique ideas, what to do?

Make it Your Own

Create the atmosphere you desire with paint. Want a bold, dramatic look? Use up to 5 shades of burgundy, forest and navy. As long as your existing furniture is colored in a shade that will blend, you will be fine. Paint baseboards a darker shade, walls the lightest.

Add some rich window coverings, which you can make yourself for almost nothing, and a few wall hangings. You can create beautiful swag curtains yourself out of satin bed sheets. Flea markets are a great place to find some unusual pieces you can use for accents. Have your children do some finger painting, using colors that compliment your décor. Mat their work and you have some wonderfully colorful abstract wall hangings!

Let the Energy Flow

Want a lively, energetic and refreshing look? Use several shades of paint as in the previous description, but make these colors electric. Bright greens, peach shades and burnt orange are wonderful when mixed together. Display simple botanical groupings on the walls, a straw colored woven rug for the floor.

Keep your furniture light – no bulky or over-sized furniture. If you already have light colored furniture that is basic in design, this look will work perfectly. When it comes to the windows, you can use wooden shutters, or create your own curtains using a sheer material. Concentrate on a look that appeals to you, and imagine the possibilities.

With any look, contrast makes things much more interesting. It used to be a no-no to mix floral patterns with stripes and plaids. Now, it’s the thing to do! As long as you stay within your color boundaries, mixing things up adds a “wow” factor that cannot be ignored. Want to create a one-of-a-kind look on a shoestring budget? Just use some imagination, and mix it with a little of your own unique personality.

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Mar 24 2010

Simple Tips for Decorating a Small Living

Many homes have living rooms that are small, where it feels like there’s hardly even enough room to walk between the furniture. Unless you like a cluttered look, it’s hard to know what to do with a room no larger than 200 square feet. Fortunately, you have plenty of options.

Use vibrant colors and patterns to dress up a living or family room that feels claustrophobic. It’s a common mistake to try to lighten up the area a little too much. What often results is a boring sea of white, with white walls and furniture, with very little hanging on the walls. The fear of adding to the cluttered look can, in the end, make the room too sterile.

Decades ago, the presiding recommendation was that you “open up” small spaces with super-light colors such as white and linen. But now things have changed. These days, people want a living room that bursts with color and vibrancy. You can not only make the room look airy and spacious, but also extremely inviting. The key is to use colors and patterns that work. Consider the following tips to help you transform your small boring living room into a beautiful room bursting with personality.

  1. Paint the room a light shade, but not white. To start, find a swatch of fabric you’re going to use that contains the shade of paint you desire. Consider a celery green or a vibrant peach-two colors that lend a botanical feel to the room. Paint both the ceiling and walls a lighter shade of whatever color you choose. Then you can paint any doors in the room, baseboards, and other trim a darker complementary color.
  2. Jazz up any bare, boring walls with botanical prints. You should be able to find some in old books or magazines. Find a shade for the mat that complements the picture as well as the paint color you’ve chosen for the room. You might even group several together on one wall, creating a focal point splashed with color.
  3. Use sheer silky curtains to add a light, airy feel to the décor. Place your curtain rod up close to the ceiling, allowing the sheer curtains to touch the floor. Not only will this give an expansive look to the window, but it will make the ceiling appear higher.
  4. Find furniture that’s sturdy, but stay away from anything overstuffed or bulky. You want your patterns to include colors that contrast and complement your walls, curtains, and overall décor. You want to use bold, contrasting patterns in this type of a setting. Often bold stripes make the perfect touch to the décor. By creating a lively look, the smallness of the room gets lost in the inviting, vibrant atmosphere.

You might also add a unique and interesting touch to the décor by recovering the seat cushions of a solid-toned couch in a colorful, fun pattern. End tables or oak coffee tables that fold up or a narrow profile oak tv stand also work well in this type of space. This way, when your guest leave you can store them away and open up the floor area.

This is just the beginning of the many ways you can open up those tight spaces in your home. These are just a few suggestions to help get your creativity flowing. Remember to not only use your imagination, but to have fun with it!

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Mar 23 2010

Get a New Kitchen Look on a Budget

With the recent economic downturn, most families have little, if any, extra money. If your kitchen is in desperate need of a facelift, it’s hard to know what to do-especially considering that this is usually the most expensive room in the house to remodel. Fortunately, there are many things you can either do yourself or have someone else do at an affordable price. If you want to transform the look of your kitchen without spending a fortune, here are a few easy steps you can take.

  • The obvious place to start is to paint your walls and ceiling. If you change the colors completely, you can make a really noticeable difference. For example, if you’re looking to add color and vibrancy but don’t want the look to be overbearing you can add color and vibrancy with a soft yellow or pastel peach. Or to really make the look pop, paint the baseboards a contrasting color.
  • Spruce things up by updating any cabinet and drawer pulls. This type of small touch in a décor can really make a large impact. Your local home supply store should offer all sorts of new pulls to choose from. You might even be able to add a touch of color to your décor with a patterned pull.
  • Give your kitchen a whole new look with new lighting fixtures. Chances are, your fixtures have been there for years and are most likely outdated. Compared to having to move the electrical box, lighting fixtures will save you a bundle. You want to choose fixtures that are compatible with and will fit in the same place as your current one does.
  • Consider updating your windows. Are mini blinds still hanging on all of your kitchen and dining room windows? Why not take them off completely and hang some delicate sheer material instead? If you just happen to prefer blinds, then consider the vertical variety. For a more elegant look, you might use satin sheets to create your own swags. When you use a little creativity, your window options are virtually endless.

If you don’t mind painting, with a little imagination you can create a unique look that will others will envy. You want to create a home that reflects your tastes and personality, making it your own special place. If you want to make it uniquely yours, then keep things as original as possible.

As you can see, it’s not necessary to spend a bundle of money in order to transform the look and feel of your kitchen. You want a look that family and friends can enjoy in comfort, since the kitchen is often the most used room in the home. You’ll be amazed at what a difference a few of these simple tricks can make! You can make your kitchen look as though it cost thousands for only a few hundred dollars, and no one will know any better.

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Mar 19 2010

How to Incorporating Nature into Your Decor

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

There are plenty of ways to bring elements from the natural world inside your home. By incorporating nature into your décor, you also are adding unique items that can help you connect with the room. Here are some great ways to add nature to your home.

Use Water in Your Décor
You will find that there are many different water fountain designs to choose from. However, for that natural look, you need to find one that most closely resembles the natural world. Water fountains that have rocks and stones making up the base will work well here. Fountains are visually pleasing, and the sounds of flowing water will definitely put you in a natural frame of mind.

Decorate with House Plants
To add nature to a room instantly, try adding a house plant. With all the different house plants available, you can choose one based on the style of your room. If you have a Southwestern theme, for instance, you would want to add something like a simple cactus. On the other hand, a room with a Victorian motif would be enhanced with a fern. If you want to add some instant color, try a flowering house plant, such as a chrysanthemum or African violet.

Look for an appropriate basket or pot to place the house plant in-one that coordinates with the rest of the décor. When determining the best place for the plant, you want it to be in an area that not only receives adequate light but also works well with the rest of the room’s design.

Create a Wreath from Nature
If you’re looking for a truly unique natural items, then create your own wreath using items from nature. Some great additions to a nature wreath include reeds, vines, seeds, pinecones, flowers, and dried berries. When you make your own wreath, you can better match the style of your décor. However, you also have the option of buying such nature wreaths-for example, at a craft fair. Hang the wreath in a central location. Two great spots are above the fireplace and above the entrance to another room.

Collect Small Items from Nature
Think about some of the items you love from nature and start a collection. This is another great way to incorporate nature into your décor. You can easily add a natural touch to a room with a vase full of river rocks or a basket filled with seashells. Often, to bring out the vibrant colors of those shells and rocks, you may need to keep them in water. Some other items from nature that make great collectibles are pinecones, seeds, fruit, branches, and flowers.

These are only some of the many ways natural items can be incorporated into your décor. Look around the next time you are outside for natural items. With a little creativity you can include these unique items in your décor.

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Mar 17 2010

5 Feng Shui Tips for Your Bedroom

The bedroom is one of the most popular rooms in which people like to practice feng shui. With feng shui, you can create a bedroom that’s a peaceful retreat and the ideal place in which to get restful sleep every night. When you practice feng shui, you can design and decorate a balanced room filled with positive energy.

When it comes to decorating with feng shui, there are several guidelines, but some are more important than others. If you’re looking to create a balanced and peaceful bedroom, here are some feng shui tips that can help get you on your way.

1. Your bed should be the main feng shui element in the room.
Above all, wood beds are the primary source of intimate, personal energy in the room. It’s hard to get restful sleep at night if you have an uncomfortable bed.

2. By placing the bed in a feng shui position, you can create optimal positive energy and love.
For instance, you should be able to see the doorway from the bed, but you shouldn’t be directly in line with the door. Choose a strong supporting wall against which to place the bed.

3. You should have balanced energy on both sides of your bed in feng shui.
This means you have the choice of placing side tables on both sides of the bed or on neither side. You also don’t want to have any sharp angles from the tables or other furniture in the room facing the bed.

4. When you remove the television, you maintain balance in the room.
The less electricity flowing through your bedroom the better, as removing as many electrical appliances as possible is a key part of feng shui. By removing electrical flow from the room, your body won’t take in those harmful EMFs that can cause an internal imbalance. The distraction of a television or computer can also keep you from getting good sleep at night.

5. When designing your bedroom, don’t get obsessed with the rules of feng shui.
For instance, your bedroom may be too small for you to follow all the correct guidelines of feng shui. This attitude can cause you to feel stressed out, creating disappointment. It’s important to remember that feng shui is all about creating positive energy. Concentrate in making the room comfortable for you by doing what you can with the space that you have.

Some people may not believe in feng shui or find it too difficult, but its goal is to create the most comfortable, healthiest room you can. Feng shui has been born from a long philosophical tradition that demonstrates how these decorating principles can improve your sense of being and life. Start with these tips to improve your bedroom and fine-tune your feng shui.

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Mar 12 2010

How to Choose a Decorating Style for Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

When decorating a home, it can be difficult to find a style that you like and that will fit your home. It will often take people longer to come up with a decor style for a room than they will spend actually buying the items and decorating the room. Here are some great ideas that can help you find a fabulous style for you and your home.

Consider the Natural Style of Your Home
Some homes reflect a particular feel, which makes it easier to pick a style for the decor. If you live in an old country home, for instance, then you would go with a country or traditional style. On the other hand, a Southwestern theme would fit better with a home that’s built using Spanish-style architecture. Don’t feel that you absolutely have to follow these suggestions, but if you’re unsure about a decorating style, this is a great way to choose one.

Look Through Home Decorating Magazines and Books
You can find plenty of ideas for your home by heading to your local library and leafing through home decorating magazines and books. You want the style to be one you love and also one that fits the architectural style of your home. Keep in mind that you don’t need to settle on only one theme; rather, you can create a different style in each room of your home if you really want to. If you come across styles you like, jot down some notes. You might also make some photocopies for future reference.

Do Research on the Internet on Different Decorating Styles
A great way to research the different decorating styles you’re contemplating is to use the Internet. There should be lots of different decor pictures you can check out of all the various styles, and you’ll be able to find some articles and tips on decorating as well. This may help you narrow things down to one or two styles and then you can drop the rest of them.

Determine the Function of a Room Before Choosing a Decorating Style
You need to keep in mind that not every decorating style is going to match the purpose of a room. Modern decor, for instance, may not be appropriate for a family room where you’re looking for a comfortable space to relax, watch television, and play games. So think about what you really want from each room in the house before you start spending time and money on the project. It would be a shame to go through all the trouble of decorating and then realize in a few months that your decorating style doesn’t fit the function of the room. Then you’d have to start all over again.

Consider Who Is Living in the House
For those of you with pets or small children in your home, you may find that your options are somewhat limited. It’s important to consider who’s living in the home and who will be using the room before you decorate. Of course, the sky’s the limit if all you need to please is your spouse and yourself.

It may take some time and planning to choose a decorating style that fits your home and is something you will love, but it shouldn’t create stress. By using these guidelines, you can determine the best style for you. Then you will be able to enjoy spending time in your home day after day.

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Mar 11 2010

Kitchen Flooring Ideas

When you choose flooring for your kitchen, it will depend on the style and look you wish to achieve in the room. Of course, certain styles are more popular than others, but you need to choose what will work best in your kitchen. Fortunately, you have a wide variety of options—here are a few different kitchen flooring ideas to consider.

Wood Flooring for the Kitchen
A common flooring choice in kitchens is wood floors. Overall, wood floors tend to be one of the most popular types of flooring options available. If you decide to go with wood floors, you’ll have several different types of wood to choose from. The warmth of the wood will add character to your kitchen space, whether you stick with a basic pine slat or choose the trendier, environmentally friendly bamboo wood flooring. Choose a color and type of wood that fits with your kitchen’s style and theme.

Tile Flooring: Timeless and Tasteful
Kitchen tile is another very popular type of flooring. With this type of flooring you have many different options to choose from, from different colors and designs to a variety of materials. Plain tile floors, ones that are laid out in a design, and others that resemble stone or are decorative are just some of your options. Both ceramic and porcelain tile floors are resistant to stains and scratches and require little maintenance. However, do be careful not to drop anything upon the tiles, as they can crack.

Laminate Flooring in the Kitchen
If you’re looking for a less expensive choice for the kitchen floor, consider laminate. The new laminate flooring offers many different options that you can choose from. A very popular type of laminate flooring is that which looks like wood and can easily pass for a genuine wood floor. You can also go with a laminate floor that looks like tile. A plain laminate floor is very simply but can fit in perfectly to play down a visually striking kitchen. Laminate floors can be installed easily and they cost much less than a tile or real wood floor, making them a popular flooring choice.

Concrete Flooring in the Kitchen
People don’t always associate concrete flooring with a kitchen, but in recent years they have become increasingly popular. Many people don’t realize that a concrete floor designed for the kitchen is different than a regular concrete floor. These decorative and stained concrete floors can have patterns and color incorporated into their matrix. Concrete floors are very reasonable when compared to real wood floors and are also remarkably durable.

Vinyl for a Kitchen Floor
If you’re looking for another inexpensive flooring option, consider vinyl tile or sheet. When people think of vinyl, they often think of the old linoleum floors of the past, but vinyl has actually come a long way. Now vinyl comes in all kinds of patterns, colors, and designs, and can add much style and beauty to any kitchen. Not only is vinyl inexpensive, but you can install the floor yourself. With its versatility, you can make a clear statement with that vinyl tile floor or let it be a quiet, calming addition to your kitchen. There are thousands of options, so it’s up to you what type of vinyl tile you choose.

These are just a few of the many flooring options you have to choose from for your kitchen. First narrow down your selection, and then go out and see what’s locally available. It will probably surprise you a little to discover just how many options you really have.

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Mar 10 2010

How to Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Do you have older kitchen cabinets that you either want to keep or can’t afford to replace? There are several ways to update those cabinets to look nicer and better fit with your kitchen décor. Here are some easy ways to update your kitchen cabinets without having to commit a lot of time or money to the project.

Add New Hardware to the Kitchen Cabinets
Choose new hardware, for a very simple and inexpensive way to update your kitchen cabinets. By adding new pulls or handles, you can really change the look of a cabinet. Cabinet hardware doesn’t take long to install and it’s also inexpensive. Unique handmade or hand-painted cabinet pulls will really spruce up your cabinets and add a creative touch to your kitchen décor.

Paint the Kitchen Cabinets
It’s easier than you think to paint kitchen cabinets. You may not even have to sand them before painting, depending on the style and color of your old cabinets. The easiest way to paint cabinets is to remove the doors and paint them on a flat surface. This way you’ll get the best possible coverage.

When you choose a new color, you can completely change the look of the room. For instance, by painting the cabinets a particular shade, you can turn a country kitchen into a modern-style décor. This type of painting project usually takes a weekend, leaving you with a kitchen that looks brand-new come Monday morning.

Take the Doors Off the Cabinets
A quick way to update kitchen cabinets is to remove the doors from at least some of the units. You can use this space to show off what’s inside those cabinets or showcase a collection that enhances your kitchen’s theme or style. You don’t have to take off every cabinet door; even just two open cabinets can change the entire look of the kitchen. Before you remove the doors, however, be sure that you are committed to keeping the inside of those cabinets clean and organized, and are comfortable displaying the items inside. For example, a collection of plastic cups will not make as wonderful of a kitchen accessory as antique china.

Replace the Cabinet Doors
A great way to update your kitchen and have cabinets that fit with the style you’re going for is to replace your kitchen cabinet doors. When it comes to kitchen cabinet doors, you have plenty of different options. For instance, you can find doors that have designs built in to them. There are also doors that have windows. You want the cabinets to match the rest of the décor, so be sure to look for a cabinet door that will fit in with the theme and style of your kitchen. Before you pick out your doors, make sure they’re going to fit properly by taking careful measurements  of your cabinets.

Any of these ideas for updating your kitchen cabinets can help take your kitchen from old to stylish and new. You can dramatically change the look of your kitchen with any of these renovations—and none of them will cost you thousands of dollars. Once you decide which option will work best for your cabinets and your kitchen, you can start updating your look.

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