Archive for April, 2010

Apr 27 2010

Transform Your Bath Into An Exquisite, Relaxing Sanctuary

Is your bathroom no more than a room where you shower or bathe? Do you not give much thought to its appearance or how it can really be used? Why not think of it instead as your own little private sanctuary—a place to escape to! What’s better after a hard day’s work than to relax the stress away and rejuvenate your spirits?

There aren’t many places in your home where you can actually escape the rest of the family. Often your young children follow along right on your heels and it’s difficult to get time to yourself. Everyone needs and deserves a little time now and then to unwind. Your bathroom provides the perfect spot to do this, but for it to be relaxing, you need to create the right atmosphere.

Get Rid of That Cold, Sterile Look
Sometimes bathrooms end up looking like, well, no more than just a bathroom. Is it decorated with nothing more than stainless-steel towel racks and toilet-paper holders—the works? Is everything in the room pretty basic and straightforward, with nothing too fancy? If this is the case, then here’s where you need to start.

The first step is to soften the look. This can be done by adding wrought-iron towel racks or white or pastel-colored wood. Lavender, sea foam, or another soft, relaxing shade is perfect for the walls. In terms of flooring, two great options are carpet and colorful ceramic tiles. If your linoleum is plain-looking and hardly noticeable, definitely consider updating your floors.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Look at your large bathroom mirror—does it look a little stark? Does your mirror just hang there with nothing around it? Then perhaps it’s time to make a change. As an alternative, hang a mirror trimmed with gold edges or place wallpaper border around it. Choose a border that contrasts with color of the walls. Another option is to completely change the shape. An oval mirror, for instance, adds a romantic touch.

Decorate the Tub
Spruce up that tub, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a garden tub or one with wide edges. For starters, set greenery around the edges. You can make the tub look really inviting with small ceramic pots filled with herbs and greenery. Include some votive candles in the arrangement, and you are ready to soak in a bubble-filled tubs, letting the delicious scents of the candles float your worries away. There’s nothing quite like filling the tub, lighting a few candles, and bathing in a warm candlelight glow.

Accents Pull It All Together
Pull your new bathroom together by adding a few accents. For the perfect touch, consider an oblong or square basket to hold a few bath towels. If you have room, add a small table, painting it a contrasting color and decorating it with stenciled flowers and greenery around the edges. Add some clear glass containers to hold cotton balls, Q-tips, and other items. If you have any attractive body splash and lotion bottles, you might display them as well. Of course, there’s always room for more plants and more candles. Just make the room your own.

It’s so much more relaxing to bathe in a room that’s both exquisitely beautiful and wonderfully smelling. Then there’s no need to jump in and out of the tub. Instead, you can to relax, unwind, and enjoy yourself. By taking along your favorite book or magazine and a glass of wine, you can make it the most peaceful part of your day! Who said bathroom décor needs to be boring?

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Apr 20 2010

Rustic Decorating Warms Up Your Home

Rustic décor is one of the most popular styles for decorating a home.  Whether you live in a densely populated neighborhood of a big city or in a wooded rural area, this style of décor is warm and inviting.  Nothing feels more comfortable or welcoming than a home decorated in rich, warm shades – and those who love natural wood are sure to find this style of decorating a favorite!

Shades of forest green, cream, brown tones and any other rich colors found in nature are used in rustic décor.  Walls, floors, ceiling fans and furniture are often made of wood.  Hardwood floors are beautiful in any home, but exquisite in this style.  Braided accent rugs, when thrown at the foot of the bed or in front of a sofa add to the homey, comfortable look and atmosphere.

For the Walls
Some types of paneling are outdated, but you can find wood panels that are applied horizontally which creates an amazing look.  If you would rather paint the walls, be sure to stick to rustic colors.  Add even more interest by painting only a couple of walls.  You may want to paint one forest green and another in a rich tan color to contrast.  Wall tapestries are perfect when used in the rustic décor style.  Scenes of nature, mountainous terrain and forest landscapes all make exquisite tapestries that make a room look rich.

Furnishings for the Rustic Home
Leather and solid wooden furniture complement the look perfectly.  Coffee and end tables should match any exposed wood on the sofa, love seat or recliner.  If you choose to use a fabric for your furniture, dark green, rust and creams are beautiful in a plaid or striped pattern.  As with the rest of this type of décor, stick to colors and textures that mimic nature.

In the kitchen, a long wooden pine or maple table is perfect.  Add a bowl filled with fruit and your table is complete!  When it comes to seating, use mismatched wooden chairs or even benches!  The older and more worn the pieces look, the better.  Accessories in a rustic styled kitchen often include prancing roosters, stone and ceramic pots filled with sunflowers or herbs, and a homey rug placed in front of the sink area.

Accessorize!
When it comes to accessories, look for items that have an antique or worn look.  Again, leather and wood make perfect accents, and keep the natural theme flowing throughout your home.  A distressed wooden trunk is a perfect addition to a living room or bedroom, and antique style mirrors create beautiful walls.  Flea markets are a good place to find mirrors, and it really doesn’t matter if they contain a few dings – it just adds to the rustic appeal.

Nothing speaks warmth, security and family like rustic décor.  No matter where you live, you can create comfortable, inviting spaces that all who enter your home will love.  The purpose of a home is to give you comfort, security and warm feelings at the end of the day.  No home is quite as welcoming and beautiful as the rustic style home!  Country or city, this is one style you will truly fall in love with.

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Apr 19 2010

Decorating Tips To Make Tiny Spaces Appear Airy And Open

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

For many, a small home, apartment, mobile home, or condo is home. Although an intimate feeling is nice, sometimes things can get too intimate. A room with too many things in it can start to close in on you so that you feel you’re always climbing over things to get where you are going.

If you’re looking for solutions for opening up those small spaces, fortunately there are tons of them. You can make your tiny room appear twice as big by simply following the tips below.

Create a Balance of Large and Small
A common mistake people make is believing that small accents and accessories belong in small rooms. Although some tiny decorating pieces aren’t a problem, if you use too many, it will just add to the small, cluttered look. The best approach to use here is to create a balance of large and small. This will eliminate that messy, cluttered look, all while helping to create interest in the décor.

Light Up the Room!
If your small room is also dark and dreary, then by all means light it up! If you have any heavy curtains or other window coverings in there that are blocking the light, then remove them. Venetian blinds or another style of window covering allow you to open up the window completely, so you always have the option of letting sunshine spill in and brightening the mood. Make sure your lamps are placed strategically around the room, and choose lampshades light in colors so you get the maximum amount of light in the evenings. If you like the look of curtains, choose something sheer.

Remember—Less Is More
If you have a small room, go with large, oversized furniture and large paintings for the walls. Remember, you want large pieces like an tv stand or entertainment center, just less of them. A large sofa and recliner, for instance, won’t overcrowd the room but will give you plenty of seating space. Go for a single large portrait or painting for the wall, rather than grouping together multiple smaller pictures. Then you’ll end up with a room that, although small, feels airy and spacious.

Make Good Use of What Space You Have to Work With
You’ll often see wood bookcases, lamps, and other items placed in the middle of the wall. If you can, use your corner space instead! By freeing up more area in the middle of the room, you’ll make it appear larger. Unless the layout just doesn’t work, use the corners. Another great accent for those corners is plants.

Mirrors Double the Size of a Room
Mirrors help create visually larger rooms—a trade secret that’s been known for decades. You might place mirrored tiles across an entire wall or use one large mirror on a wall instead to create a focal point. Basically, the reflection of the room in the mirror makes that space look double the size.

Don’t Forget Color
Color is an important part of making those tiny spaces look bigger. Don’t be afraid to go beyond white and use bright greens, blues, and peaches. As long as the shades are kept light, the added color will give the space more interest and depth. Another option is to paint a single wall a bright, vibrant shade that will either blend or contrast with colors in your furnishings and accents.

When it comes to a small space, it’s always important to remember that less is always more. So do away with those collections of small knick-knacks and use singe items instead in your décor. By mixing and matching a few small pieces with several large ones, your room will open up right before your eyes.

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Apr 14 2010

Adding Pizzazz to Your Country Style Decor

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

A country-style décor creates a look that’s both welcoming and warm. Country décor can bring back treasured memories of family gatherings, grandma’s house, and delicious meals. Your home should reflect the personality and preferences of you and your family—after all, you’re the ones who spend your lives there. You want a home that gives a warm and inviting impression but that’s also appealing. Here are some tips to help you spruce up your country-style home, adding splashes of interest to your décor.

The Key to Country Décor
All the little extras or accents help to create a country atmosphere in your home. Wood furniture is an essential component for this look, while natural fabrics such as cotton textiles add depth and color. Knick knacks and other display items should be made of pewter, copper, iron, stone, and other natural materials. If you have lots of collectibles to display in the kitchen area, arrange them on a wrought-iron baker’s rack for added appeal.

Giving Furniture That Comfortably Worn “Country” Look
For rustic appeal, you want the furnishings in a country décor to appear slightly worn. This is an easy look to achieve if you have solid wood furniture. Apply a layer of paint, let it partially dry, and then rub the edges and other areas that would typically wear with a cloth or sponge. Another option is to let the paint thoroughly dry and create that worn look by sanding the edges lightly with sandpaper. If you’re buying wooden furniture, choose pine or another light-colored wood to add to the country feel.

Accents Make All the Difference!
The country décor theme has endless options. There’s nothing that adds that extra element of country to a room like a handmade quilt. Sling one casually across a corner of a rocking chair or throw one over the back of the sofa. The addition of throw pillows is another easy way to add color and texture to the décor. Throw pillows with crocheted covers or tapestry designs that are country oriented are perfect for this look. Another great touch for this décor style is a braided rug. Find a large oval braided rug to place in the center of the room, and then arrange your furnishings around that rug to create a cozy central area perfect for relaxation or entertaining guests.

Another necessity when it comes to country décor are baskets, copper pots, and vases. You can put a basket in nearly any room. The living room can benefit by a small basket placed on the mantle above the fireplace, or on wood coffee tables or end tables. There are lots of options for filling the basket, including dried flowers, greenery, and herbs. In the kitchen, a medium-sized basket filled with painted wooden fruits is perfect for the center of the table. Baskets are also a useful place to put towels in the bathroom and magazines in the living room.

Copper and stone pots will contribute an earthy touch to the décor. Add some herbs or flowers fresh out of your garden. These pots can be placed anywhere and everywhere. Nothing makes a home feel more warm and welcoming than live plants and herbs.

With these tips, you can add some creative flair to your country décor. Of course, you want your home to express your unique nature, so be sure to incorporate your own creative ideas as well. This way your home will be warm and beautiful, and showcase your individuality as well.

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Apr 13 2010

Tuscan Style Brings the Casual, Warm Touch of Italy into Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

The Tuscan style of home décor invites the warm atmosphere and natural beauty of Italy into your home. Natural materials such as stone, wood, terra cotta, and marble are incorporated everywhere. In this style, the elements of nature are abundant. With the Tuscan style, there’s no pretense, only a natural, comfortable, and worn look that’s heightened by colors that reflect the glowing sun setting over the gorgeous mountains of Italy.

A Look That’s Completely Comfortable
This style of décor leaves homes feeling airy and open. Windows are often left completely bare, allowing natural lighting and other elements of nature to seep in. The cupboards are also often left bare, although some keep all the contents easily visible by using chicken wire for door fronts.

The Tuscan look feels relaxed, lived-in, and completely comfortable. Furniture might be made from local wood. Lines are kept simple, the wood rough hewn. Furniture made of pine or dark wood can even be distressed at the factory, giving it a well-used look.

Wall Accents Add to the Charm
Terra cotta, brick, burnished yellows, and greens are all used to create the Italian-inspired look. Walls are often gray or soft white, and you’ll often see them adorned with Tuscan accents such as rich tapestries. Tapestries are sometimes large enough to decorate the whole wall, adding texture and interest to the décor. With Italian-themed hangings, you can create an exquisite and colorful focal point for the room. Even better, they’re available in a variety of styles. Italian work is unmistakable, whether you choose a re-creation of a traditional tapestry or something entirely new.

Tuscan-Inspired Floors
A Tuscan-inspired style can be carried throughout the floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture in your home. Flooring options include timber boards, wide wooden planks, terra-cotta bricks, clay tiles, and rough stone. For an artistic touch that adds splashes of interest to the décor, scatter some gently worn and antique-looking rugs around the room. Particularly popular in the kitchen and dining areas are clay tiles.

Integrate Wrought Iron into Your Décor
Wrought iron is a popular look in Italian Tuscan décor. Hang wrought-iron pot racks from the ceiling and put a baker’s rack against one wall. Terra-cotta pots filled with herbs and greenery make a nice touch. Kitchen sinks should be made of natural stone or porcelain. All those ceramic touches work to add color and depth to the décor. A wrought-iron fireplace screen can add a touch of elegance to the living room. Other great additions that add to the ambiance include wrought-iron wall sconces and candleholders.

Warm and inviting, Tuscan décor is truly inspired by nature. The outdoors is brought in via all the natural textures used for the walls, floors, countertops, and other surfaces. You really get the feel of a charming Italian villa with all these earthy materials. Surrounded by exposed wood ceiling beams, plenty of natural light, and all the colors of nature, you can retreat to the comforts of a warm and inviting home after a hard day’s work.

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Apr 09 2010

Perk Up a Tired-Looking Room with Color

Have you lived in your home for years and feel that it’s time for an update? When you’ve had the same colors and accents for a long time, you may feel that you want a change. Perhaps you’re finding that your kitchen and living area have begun looking tired and drab. If you can’t afford a home makeover at the moment, then what are your options?

Spruce up your home using vibrant colors and add a few new accents. It’s amazing how different things will look when you’re through. The best part is, even though you’re not spending a bundle of money, your home will look as though you did.

In the Living Room
This is one area you really want to be appealing, especially since this is the room where family and friends congregate to visit and enjoy each other’s company. Have you been stuck on contemporary or modern décor for years, but now you’re ready to do something bold? Be daring, and move away from the black, beige, and tan that are the usual hallmarks of your design style.

If you want a look that’s fresh, energizing, and demands attention, work with vibrant blues, tropical greens, and peaches. Choose a light celery green for the walls, and then paint the baseboards and doors a dark forest green. Hang bright botanical prints on the walls and then add a few fruity- or tropical-scented candles. As a final touch, add a little silk greenery casually displayed in clear glass vases on a wooden coffee table, and you will have achieved a totally different look for your room.

If you have solid-colored furniture, don’t be afraid to add throw pillows in bold patterns and colors. By mixing floral designs, stripes, and plaids, you can add interest and originality. Just be sure all the colors are complementary, and you will have created an incredible look.

Add Pizzazz in the Kitchen & Dining Room
If your kitchen and dining room look a little worn out and drab, then add more color. Coordinate the color theme with what you’re doing in the living room. This is especially important if these areas run together. Citrus colors work great in the kitchen. Add some bright curtains to the windows. Sunflowers, strawberries, and other bright-hued prints can really infuse this room with energy.

For the dining room, consider laying a brightly colored runner along the center of your dining table. Then place a straw basket filled with fruit there. Choose a vibrant color for the dining room walls, and then add splashes of contrasting colors using a feather duster for an exciting look. Anything goes-just use your imagination! Any accent or idea will work, as long as it’s bright and cheery.

In end, the point of all this is to make your rooms in your home come alive. For years, you have been living with the same dull and boring colors day after day. It’s time to add some vibrancy and excitement to your home. When you combine many bright, bold colors, you add some depth to a décor that makes a room look much more interesting. You’ll find that accents and furniture stand out, instead of blending together and getting lost in a sea of white. You’ll find that every area of the room begins to take on a life of its own.

Go for the gusto! Don’t hold anything back! If you’re looking to give your home not only a brand-new look but an exciting feeling as well, bright, energetic colors may be just what you need. Go for drama and flair and forget those rooms with no personality. You will have a feeling of renewed energy and vitality each time you set foot in your home.

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Apr 08 2010

Light Up Your Home for Beauty and Usefulness

Lighting can make a huge difference in the look and atmosphere of a home. Most people have ordinary lighting in their home, such as lamps, overhead lights, and so on. But many people don’t realize that a home’s lighting can completely change the feeling and the mood. You can create a warm ambiance instantly, without changing any of your décor. Certain types of lighting will not only add to the look of your home but can serve differing purposes as well.

Light Up Your Living Area
What type of lighting does your living or family room have? You probably have a few lamps sitting on a wood end table in there, maybe some overhead lights-perhaps even a lighted ceiling fan. Lamps can be gorgeous and should always be included as part of the home decorating scheme. If you can find the right ones, lamps can really enhance the beauty of any room.

Look at your living area. Do you have any particular areas that deserve special attention? With some small spotlights, you can make a trophy, a plant, or a beautiful antique collectible the focal point of the room. Just place the lights on a surface surrounding the area. Another option is dimming overhead lights, which allow you to occasionally set a romantic mood.

Other Areas That Deserve Special Lighting
The kitchen has long been a favorite place for everyone to gather. There are always friends, family, and guest congregating around the table for tea and coffee or to simply visit and enjoy each other’s company. Since a great deal of cooking and cleaning up are done in this room, the kitchen is one place that should be brightly lit.

For the dining room, a great touch is to place small decorative lamps on a side buffet. You also might want to install a dimmer switch that allows you to adjust the lighting. This will help you create the perfect romantic dinner just for the two of you. When you dim the lights and light a few candles, you can generate that intimate atmosphere you desire.

Another area where you want several lighting sources is the bedroom. You’ll definitely need good overhead lighting that lets you see clearly into all the drawers of your wood dresser, closets, and so on. Then for those of you who read before turning in for the night, you’ll also want a lamp on your bedside table. You might also include a very small candle lamp that creates an amber glow-the perfect touch on those cold winter nights when you want to cuddle up with your significant other.

What About the Bathroom?
You definitely want to include a source of bright light in the bathroom. After all, this is the place where men shave and women apply their makeup, so you need to be able to see clearly in here. Set a few candles around and consider a dimmer switch as well. This is an especially great feature if you happen to have a large garden tub in the room. Nothing is more relaxing than soaking in an oversized tub, particularly when you have delicate lighting helping to float away the stresses of the day. The scent from the candles can help ease away that anxiety and stress as well, adding a luscious fragrance to the room.

Lighting is not only an essential feature of a room, but it can completely transform the atmosphere of that space. Light can be used to highlight special areas in your rooms and, when used properly, will create a warm and welcoming ambiance in your home.

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Apr 07 2010

Turning a Tired, Dated Kitchen into a Showplace

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Family, friends, and relatives all love to congregate in a comfortable kitchen-the one area of the home that everyone enjoys. For centuries, kitchens have been the room where everyone gathered, the heart of the home. Here families have come together for great meals, visiting at the table, or playing board games. After all this activity, it’s not surprising that your kitchen may look a little dated. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to give it a fresh, updated appearing, increasing the value of your home at the same time.

Certain Things Give Away the Age
Not surprisingly, there are some dead giveaways when it comes to your kitchen’s age. Are your kitchen appliances still avocado green? If your answer is yes, then this is something you need to get rid of. Or, if that’s not in your budget, then simply give them a facelift. Appliance paint is available that allows you to change the color. Of course, read the label before you buy it, but most paints of this kind can be used on refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances.

Perhaps it’s your cabinets that look outdated. If you can afford it, you might buy new ones or even have someone build them for you. Otherwise, you can completely transform the look yourself. All you need is a fresh coat of brightly colored paint and some new hardware! Start by sanding the finish down and then repaint them with a color that will liven things up a bit. By changing the look of your cabinets, you can transform the look of your entire kitchen.

Other Little Changes Create Big Impact
With very little expense, you can do many small things to change the look or style of your kitchen. A simple thing to do is to change the window treatments in the kitchen area. If you’ve always hung curtains there, perhaps this is the time to consider some wooden shutters or modern blinds.

Another easy touch is to handcraft a brightly patterned runner for your dining table. Look online or at a flea market for a used baker’s rack, which makes a great place to display all of your favorite things. If you have a very small kitchen that contains an island, open up the area by removing that island, giving it a more spacious look.

What About the Floors?
Has your worn linoleum turned yellow with age? Fortunately, there are a few things you can do. Many people find that wood flooring is especially warm and charming in the kitchen. Or you may find that tile is a good fit with the room’s style. You can settle on any look and design you want.

For those of you who cannot afford new flooring, don’t worry. You can always refresh the old! One option many don’t realize they have is to paint the linoleum. Start by sanding them down, being sure to remove any dirt and dust particles. Then apply an oil-based primer. Apply two to three layers of your chosen paint. Cover it with a few layers of oil-based polyurethane to seal it and you’ll be good to go!

Updating the look of your kitchen is a great way to increase the value of your home. In fact, the kitchen is the one room in the house that most potential buyers look at most closely. These tips can help you transform your kitchen into a dazzling space that will attract the notice of all your visitors.

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Apr 06 2010

Tips to Make Your Home Comfortable and Appealing

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Your home should be your refuge, a place to relax. Yet all too often people don’t feel comfortable in their own homes-why is this? Could it be the décor? Sometimes when we strive to make our homes as beautiful and stylish as possible, it all ends up looking a bit too contrived. So if you find that many of your home’s furnishings and accents are simply there for looks, you may want to consider a change.

Home Is About Making YOU Feel Good
Of course, you want your home to look attractive to others, but you need to ask yourself, at what price? If you can’t even stretch out and enjoy your own surroundings, then there’s a problem. Remember that this is your home and you should feel at home within it. Home is meant to be a place where families can relax, talk about the day’s activities, and enjoy life. In your home, you’re meant to feel totally at ease and happy in your surroundings.

You don’t have to necessarily use a certain style to decorate your home. Even if you favor cozy country accents and surroundings, that doesn’t mean you can’t include other items in the room, even if they don’t directly match the décor. All those quirky things placed here and there are what make your home uniquely individual and different.

Thus, by all means display any photos, tapestries, and other accents that are special to you. Sometimes rooms that are too refined look uncomfortable, Thus, eclectic décor is a great look. The goal is not to create a room where everything is perfect, as if nothing has ever been touched. Rather, you want the room to look lived in, to feel warm and inviting.

What About Color?
In décor and style, color plays a huge role. Everything you include in a décor is going to have color, where it’s a bold dramatic color like royal, red, or gold, or classic tan and beige. Soft pastels, botanicals, and other colors all have a real effect on your mood. Many people don’t realize just what an impact color can have. For instance, a bright, citrusy color will be refreshing and will lift your mood, whereas beige and tan hues are relaxing. With dramatic colors, you can really add elegance to the atmosphere.

Don’t be too hasty in deciding what colors to use in a room. Spend some time contemplating what effect different colors can have on you. When looking at a certain color, how does it make you feel? What are your favorite colors and why?

Then you can take some of those favorite colors and splash them on furnishings, walls, and accents around the room. Add some depth to a room by using several shades of the same color. Use a lighter shade to paint the walls, and then use deeper shades for doors, baseboards, and chair rails. It’s amazing how a simple change of color can make a room come alive.

It’s best to forget any rules when it comes to your home. In the end, what you want is a comfortable, relaxing space that you can look forward to coming home to at the end of a long day. So work to create a home that’s uniquely yours. Why go with a style or design that only mimics what your friends have?

Create an original style of your own. You will create a space you can feel at home in, and others will be impressed with your creative genius. After all, a home that’s just the way you like it is truly “home sweet home.”

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