Archive for September, 2010

Sep 29 2010

Rustic Decorating Allows You to Bring Nature Indoors

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

For those who love nature and the colors and textures it offers, rustic decorating is a way to bring that feeling inside your home.  Rough finishes, unfinished wood and aged surfaces create rooms that are natural, appealing and comfortable.  If fancy decorating is not your style and you prefer a look that invites guests to come in and stay for a while, try rustic décor.  This article offers tips and ideas to help you create a look that you, your family and guests will truly love.

Start from the bottom – floors

In the rustic style of decorating, wood floors are the perfect base on which to build the rest of the room.  Pine floors with wide planks or stone floors are top choices when decorating your home in this style.  You want the look to be relaxed and a bit on the worn side.  You may even consider painting your wood floors, then scuffing them up a bit so that they don’t look too fresh.

Braided rugs and scattered throw rugs further add to the look and help inject color and interest.

Use rustic colors

The colors you choose to decorate your home in rustic style should be those you find in nature.  Rust, golden yellow, brown, orange, forest green and blue all lend to the rustic appeal, and make for a colorful room.  Earthy, warm tones are what you are striving for in this style of decorating.

Pine furniture is perfect if you already have it, as this type of wood ages easily.  If you don’t have pine furniture, you can create a rustic look yourself.  For sofa or accent tables, sofa arms or other wood areas, simply paint and rub a good deal of it off as you go.  Top this with a couple of coats of wax for protection.  This technique makes newer furnishings look aged, which is desirable in the rustic look.

For the walls, wood or paint will work well.  Pine walls are beautiful, but sand or cream colored walls also add warmth.  White paint on your walls is a bit too stark for the warm accent colors, so stick to a cream hue.

Accents

When decorating your home in a rustic style, nearly anything goes – as long as it contains an element of nature.  Dried flowers, copper pots, wrought iron and hand made quilts add to the homey atmosphere.  Fill a copper pot with wildflowers from your own back yard!  In the kitchen, bare cupboards show off canned jams and vegetables or any dish collection you may have.

Take the rustic appeal all the way in to your dining room by using a picnic table flanked by wooden benches.  Top with a rustic colored runner and a brass container filled with colorful fruits or dried flowers for a fresh look.  Keep with rustic, rough finishes and warm colors, and create rooms that everyone who enters your home will enjoy immensely.  In fact, they may never want leave since they will feel totally

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Sep 29 2010

Nothing Says “Simple” Quite Like Americana Country Decor

Americana country style decorating is one that is warm, relaxing and takes you back to a time and place when life was a bit simpler and family time was meant to be enjoyed.  If elegant or contemporary styles don’t appeal, and you are someone who loves nature and country living, Americana country décor offers simplicity that reflects your personality and appeals to all who enter your home.

This style of decorating comes in many forms, depending on your personal preferences and the region of the country in which you live.  You may go all out for red, white and blue, or tone things down for a bit more subtlety.  One hint:  If you do decide to go for the patriotic look, using all three colors equally can become overpowering.  You may want to dominate the room with a single color, then blend touches of the other two here and there.

Rustic and Charming

Many styles of Americana country decorating lean toward the rustic.  Walls may be stenciled, floors made of wide plank wood and furnishings a bit worn around the edges.  Stencils may include gingham patterns, farm animals or items that offer a patriotic theme, depending on your style preference.  The truly charming thing about this country American decorating style is that nothing looks new or modern, but everything looks welcoming and comfortable.  Rooms look as though they could say, “Come on in and stay a while!”

Furnishings

Furniture found in this style of decorating is basic and free of intricate details, with simple lines.  A solid colored sofa may be accented with quilted pillows to add a splash of color, or casually draped with an antique quilt.  Tables are simple as well, made of wood in rectangular or square shapes, and a bit worn around the edges.  A soft, muted blue-gray color works well for the sofa and love seat.

Accents are where the fun is

In Americana country decorating, the accents are what really add depth and personality to the room.  Kitchens often offer up cast iron skillets hung on a wall, or tin signs depicting scenarios from a century ago.  Roosters may abound, both in the kitchen and in the living room.  Large cast iron roosters make a fitting addition to the country atmosphere, as does a collection of sponge wear.  An old cracked pitcher filled with daisies or other wildflowers adds color, and wide open windows with little adornment allow in lots of light while keeping with the simplistic appeal.

Truthfully, your own personality can dictate the looks and atmosphere of your rooms.  If you collect antique porcelain dolls, put them on display in an old cabinet with a glass front.  Tinware, old wooden boxes and other collectibles are a great addition, and fill the room with warmth.

For those who love a simple, rustic appeal that is still charming and beautiful, no other decorating style offers comfortable, relaxing surroundings that really say “home” like Americana country décor.  Relax in surroundings that are reminiscent of an era from a century ago.

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Sep 29 2010

How Texture and Pattern Make for Appealing Spaces

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Many people don’t truly realize the impact that texture and pattern have on making the rooms of their home warm, inviting and appealing.  Every home should be a relaxing haven, a place where you come to at the end of the day to release all your stresses and cares.  From your kitchen and living room to the bedroom, your rooms should reflect not only style, but your personal tastes.  This article offers tips on adding texture and pattern to every room of your home, making for inviting, beautiful spaces.

Color isn’t the only thing that matters

Of course you want your home to be decorated with beautiful splashes of color, but texture and patterns make a room come to life.  Any room that contains only bland colors and a single texture such as smooth, shiny or rough is boring!  Today, mixing stripes with florals or checks and combining rough, shiny or smooth textures provide life and personality to an otherwise dull room.

Play up the kitchen

In the kitchen and bath, it’s easy to incorporate texture.  If either of these rooms have a sterile look with white tiled floors, white walls, white appliances, etc., pump up the warmth by using wood floors, cherry cabinets and nubby accent rugs.  Consider boldly patterned cushions for dining room chairs, or a wall shelf displaying rustic pottery.  In the bath, choose plush towels for display, boldly patterned rugs, and a sconce for the wall to soften the room with romantic lighting.

Liven up the walls

The walls in any room are an essential part of the overall decor.  Today, many people paint the walls using faux finishes that can be accomplished with ragging, rag rolling, rubber stamping and other methods.  This creates texture for the walls and helps alleviate the blank look.  Consider richly textured tapestries, or glue fabrics such as imitation suede or burlap to a single wall.  Ceilings are also important; they can be painted with texture paint, and even wallpapered!  Exposed wooden beams also add richness to the room, especially for those decorating in a country-themed style.

Accents are very important for pulling the look together.  For the sofa or love seat, consider layered throw pillows designed in stripes, checks, florals and even geometric patterns depending on your style preferences.  Vary the textures; some should be silky and sleek, while others are rough and nubby.  A colorful throw placed casually across a chair or rocker adds additional interest.

You can also blend furnishings from various eras to add appeal to a room.  Today, it is common to find upscale homes decorated with pieces from the 19th century, the ’30’s, and modern furnishings from today.  When various elements with diverse qualities are combined, the result can be very beautiful and unique.  Leather looks great when combined with wicker, and many pieces you have put away can be transformed into a something great for some room with a little paint or stenciling.

Create rooms that are truly your own and that offer a sense of intimacy that anyone who enters your home will love.  It’s easy, when you let texture and patterns work for you!

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Sep 28 2010

Decorating a Small Living Room for Visual Spaciousness

If your living room is on the small side and you would love to make it appear open and spacious, it is easily accomplished.  With the right use of color, furnishings and pattern, you can create a room that looks and feels much bigger than it actually is.  With decorating, there are many ways to “trick” the eye and make your room look nearly twice the actual size.  This article offers ideas for adding space to your living room, and making it more appealing as well.

Light colors equal space

Nearly everyone knows that lighter shades make a room appear more spacious, while darker colors look heavy and tend to close in a room.  This doesn’t mean you have to use boring off-white or cream on your walls!  Light, soft shades of yellow, green or any pale color will work.  You can add small splashes of darker colors with accessories to add depth and interest to the room.

Increase the height of the room

How?  This is easily accomplished by using a vertical striped pattern on the wall.  Paint the stripes yourself if you can, or use wallpaper with a striped pattern.  You might also consider hanging pictures and other wall decor a bit higher than usual or using white crown molding at the top of the wall where the wall and ceiling meet to pull the eyes upwards.

Light up the room

Any room that offers plenty of natural or artificial light looks larger than one that is dark and gloomy.  If you have lots of windows, use blinds, curtains or other window treatments that allow plenty of light to flow through.  Otherwise, use table lamps, track lighting or floor lamps to add more light to the space.

Another thing you want to do whenever possible in small spaces is to keep pathways to the doors that come into the room open.  Avoid blocking doorways with furniture or accessories.  To make your living room more inviting, consider arranging furniture at an angle, or place your sofa, love seat and chair around a beautiful area rug to create an intimate space where you can entertain guests.

With smaller rooms, it’s best to use furniture that is scaled down and sleek in place of heavy, bulky looking items.  You also want to avoid complex patterns that are loud and busy.  Opt for smaller patterns, or keep things basic and add interest through textures and fabrics.

Don’t forget the magic that a beautiful mirror can create!  Placed to reflect the light from a window, mirrors can make your living room look twice as big.  Keep accessories to a minimum to avoid a cluttered look, and use only a few key accents to liven up the room.

Put these ideas into action, and you can create a living room that is welcoming, beautiful and looks much more spacious than it actually is.  It is truly amazing what you can accomplish by using the right colors, patterns and light.  Remember light, airy, bright and uncluttered – easy to do!

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Sep 28 2010

Budget Decorating Ideas for the Living Room

Does your living room look like it came straight out of the seventies, or just have a worn-out look?  If your living room is old and tired but there is little money to spend, don’t despair!  There are lots of things you can do to spruce up the room and make it look new again without busting your budget.  This article details many easy changes you can make to bring your living room back to life again.

Freshen up the walls

The easiest thing you can do to update the look of your living room is to change the walls.  You may have the basic white or cream colored walls right now, or you may even have old paneling.  Today, faux finishes add texture to the room, and the look is easily accomplished.

To create beautiful walls, first paint them with the basic color you have chosen for the room.  This can be a sand shade, soft blue, terracotta or any shade that you choose.  Once complete, add the faux finish by using rubber stamps, a feather duster or a rag rolling technique.  You can find instructions for completing nearly any faux finish online.

Revive your furniture

Is your furniture tired and worn out?  As long as it is still structurally sound, there are a few things you can do to make it look new again.  If your sofa and love seat have wood arms or other accents, you can either refinish them or give them a coat of paint.  You may attempt to clean the fabric yourself if you like, or use slipcovers to give your furniture an entirely new appearance.  Unlike the slipcovers of years ago, today you can find slipcovers that fit well and don’t look as though you have thrown a sheet over the sofa.

Consider adding a few plush throw pillows that are boldly colored in any design that suits your decorating style.  Stripes, checks, floral and geometric patterns all work as long as you choose colors that complement the room.

Find some old treasures

Many people don’t realize the great decorating sources they have right under their nose!  Look in your basement or attic at things you have put away long ago.  Old lamps, an antique trunk, accent tables and other things you find can often be renewed by giving them a fresh coat of paint or a new lamp shade.  You may not realize it, but many paper lamp shades can be painted.  If you have old lamps with a ceramic base, paint them and perform a little stenciling magic!

To further transform your living room, take out some old accents and accessories if you have a great deal of them.  Too many accessories make a room look cluttered and messy.  Use only a few boldly colored accents to add a splash of interest to the living room.

As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  How true this is!  You can find tons of great bargains at garage sales and flea markets.  Just use your creative ideas to give them a new look.  Take an old wooden accent table and give it a fresh coat of paint and you have an interesting new piece for your living room.  Decorating on a tight budget is much easier if you just throw a little creativity and imagination into the mix.

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Sep 28 2010

Bathroom Decorating Ideas – Give Your Bath Some Pizzazz!

Published by under Bathrooms

Let’s face it – a bathroom is one of the hardest rooms in your home to decorate, and one of the most used by guests.  What can you do to liven up the room and give it some character?  There are plenty of things you can do, many of which you have probably never thought of.  This article offers tips and ideas for adding ambiance, interest and even a little romance to your bath.

Whether yours is large and spacious or very small, you can make it beautiful and appealing.

Liven up the walls

You may think that the only way to decorate walls is with white paint, especially if your bath is on the small size.  If you are using a solid color, you should keep it light.  However, if you decide to go for a pattern or design, you can use rich hues of amber, gold and burgundy, or any other colors that suit your decor.  In a small bathroom, vertical stripes make the room look visually taller.  You can do this with wallpaper that has a wide stripe, or paint them on yourself.

Another great idea for bathroom walls is to use rubber stamping techniques, which lets you place any design you like on the walls.  Faux finishes are highly popular today, and add an element of texture to the room.

Lighting sets the mood

In a bathroom, it’s often necessary to use two different kinds of lighting.  Most people want bright lights around the vanity mirror, so they can easily see to shave, apply make up, etc.  Other than task lighting, low wattage ceiling lights can add a romantic and ambient atmosphere to a large bathroom.

For a smaller bath, you can still get the effect by placing a sconce on one wall and using a 60 watt bulb.  This will provide a warm effect for those times when you simply want to relax in the tub after a stressful day.

Time for a few personal touches

Now that you have beautiful walls and the perfect lighting, it’s time to add a few accessories to make the room even more appealing.  Use objects and motifs that reflect your unique personality, such as a large boldly-colored vase filled with greenery or even an old trunk topped with some of your favorite accessories if you have the room.

Use your imagination!  A soap dish and a toothbrush holder don’t add much interest to the room.  Use the most luxurious towels you can afford for display, to add further splashes of color to the room.

If your bathroom isn’t too small, accenting the tub is an option that many don’t think about but can add a lot of character.  Hang sheer panels from the ceiling and drape them softly around the edge, pulling them back to the wall about 8 inches above the edge of the tub.  Add full size mirrors to two walls around the tub, and talk about romance!  Imagine a candle flickering and reflecting in the mirrors as you relax in a tub filled with rich, soothing oils.

With a little imagination, there is no end to the things you can do to make your bathroom exquisite – and your guests will be amazed at your decorating sense.

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Sep 27 2010

Designing a Living Room Around a Focal Point

Every room of your home should have a focal point, which is simply a place where the eyes naturally go when entering the room.  You may not even realize if your living room has a focal point.  How can you find out?  Consciously walk in to the room, and notice what jumps out at you first.  If nothing really attracts your eye, you may be missing a focal point, which is essential to proper decorating.  This article explains more about focal points, and how to design your living room around it for the most appeal.

The main feature of your living room

Nearly everyone has an area of the room that makes a great focal point.  For you, it may be a beautiful fireplace, an exquisite area rug or an antique armoire or other piece of furniture.  In creating a focal point, you may be able to use a feature that already exists, or it may be necessary to add a distinguishing touch.

A fireplace makes a great focal point

If you do have a great fireplace in your living room, use it to your best advantage!  Hang a spectacular mirror or painting above it that attracts the eye.  You can also add dramatic sculptures to the mantel, or even paint a faux border around the entire fireplace.

What if there is no focal point?

Create your own!  If there is no large, distinguishing feature in your living room that really draws the eye, create one.  Think outside the box on this one – a great area rug, a glass display case filled with collectibles, or even a great wall display or tapestry can be the focal point of the room.

Once you decide what the focal point is or create your own, it’s time to decorate around it so that it can be fully appreciated.  Large furnishings should be placed in the room before any accessories, because these items lend “shape” to the room.  Furnishings should be arranged so that from any position, the focal point is within view.

Ideally, your living room should be designed to seat six to eight people comfortably.  This may include a sofa, love seat and chair with ottoman, along with a rocker if you like.  Once you have placed your furniture where it attracts the most attention to your focal point, you are ready to bring in the accessories and accents.

Plants, artwork, accent tables and other decor should be placed so that they enhance your furnishings, while at the same time keeping attention on the focal point.  Accents should blend with the decor, not take away the impact of your focal point.

Once you have completed the room, you won’t believe how beautifully it transformation the space!  A focal point is essential for your living room; otherwise, when you walk in to the room there is nothing special to grab the eye, and the room simply goes unnoticed. Why have rooms without personality, when you can have one that exudes great interest and appeal?

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Sep 27 2010

Paint – The Most Versatile Interior Decorating Tool

Published by under Painting

Painting is one of the most affordable and effective things you can do to give your home a face lift.  You may be thinking of white or cream colored walls, which can be a little bland.  If you aren’t familiar with all of the things you can do with paint today, you need this little refresher course!  You can literally transform the look of your home, and it’s really easy.

Wall stenciling, faux painting and rubber stamping are three examples of what can be accomplished with a little paint.  In this article, we will explain a little about each method and how it works to freshen up the atmosphere in your home.

Wall stenciling

Wall stenciling is super easy and adds incredible texture to the room.  With stenciling, simply paint the entire wall a solid color that blends with the decor of the room.  Choose a stencil that complements the style of the room, and paint through the cut out areas of the stencil.  When you remove it, a sharp, crisp pattern will remain on the wall!  This is great for creating a border along the top of the wall, placing a pattern around a door or fireplace, or creating an entire wall of animals or Disney characters in a small child’s room.

Faux painting

Faux painting is a favored option for many people.  When you want to create walls that have the appearance of granite, marble, wood and other surfaces, faux painting helps you accomplish this.  From super easy to quite complex, there are a huge variety of techniques that can be used in faux painting.

Sponging, ragging and rag rolling are three easy things you can do yourself to give the walls incredible texture.  Dragging, combing, stippling and marbleizing are a bit more difficult, but can be accomplished with clear instruction.

Rubber stamping

Rubber stamping is another easy technique that gives your walls a unique look.  Easier than any other technique, rubber stamping gives you dramatic results in a very short time.  You can display your creative talents and create walls that are truly impressive, both to family and friends.

Stenciling and rubber stamping are two techniques that can also be used on furniture as well!  If you have white or pastel colored accent tables, trunks and other accessories, you can add color and interest by using these techniques.  This is great for those who love a country or cottage chic look.

Various painting techniques can bring your walls to life without going through the headaches of wallpapering or the cost of hiring someone to do it for you.  Depending on your style and color preferences, you can literally create any look you want!

If you like calm neutrals, consider using creams, taupe’s and slate blue to create your walls.  For those who like more color and warmth, golden yellow, rust and orange combine to create striking walls.  If cool, relaxing colors are your style, consider soft shades of blue and green.

Get your creative juices flowing, and create walls in your home that look incredibly beautiful and full of texture!  You may have never realized just how versatile paint can be, but now you know.  Have fun making your home a true original.

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Sep 27 2010

Designing a Contemporary Kitchen

Published by under Kitchens

If you are someone who loves modern, clean lines that are sleek with a minimum of fuss, a contemporary kitchen is for you.  Black and white is often used in this style of decorating, and some choose to use bolder colors such as red.  It’s all about simple furnishings and clutter-free counter tops, combined with bold splashes of color to liven up the room.  This article offers ideas for decorating your kitchen with a modernistic approach.

Light colored walls are essential for a spacious, open look.  Even if your kitchen is smaller, you can incorporate contemporary design by keeping the floors and walls light colored.

Appliances

 

In a contemporary kitchen, appliances are often white or stainless steel.  You may even choose to use black appliances if you are going for the black and white appeal.  If you can afford new appliances, go for those with a sleek, modern design.

Floors and Cabinets

 

Choosing the right floors and cabinets are essential in creating a modern look.  Floors are often stone or tile, and colored in hues such as white mixed with a light blue-gray or black.  Cabinets should be sleek as well, with no intricate carvings or small details.  Some people choose not to use handles or drawer pulls, to continue the straight lines throughout the room.  A high-gloss white painted cabinet looks modern and clean, and the shine adds to the style of the room.

Counter Tops

 

Uncluttered, clean lines are what contemporary style is all about.  Counter tops can be made of granite, marble or stained wood.  White, light shades of blue-gray, stone colors and black are best for this type of decorating.  Natural elements work well in contemporary decorating.

Your furnishings should be sleek as well, and free from intricate details.  Rectangular shapes work extremely well, and simple is key.  Wood, metal and glass are good materials for the kitchen table.  You can use mismatched chairs, as long as they are all painted in the same color.

Accessories should be kept to a minimum, and you want plenty of storage space in cabinets and drawers to store away items that aren’t used often.  Keep counter tops free of clutter, as too much sitting on top tends to look cluttered and messy.  Create a focal point for the room, such as a boldly colored vase filled with a flowering branch placed at a bold angle.  A tapestry or wall mural with bold geometric or abstract shapes creates interest for the walls.

You may also consider modern lighting to further enhance the look.  Install a sky light if possible, or use contemporary light fixtures that are made of stainless steel and are curved or edgy in shape; the more light you can bring in to the room, the better.  A contemporary kitchen is clean, ultra modern and spacious.  Use the ideas in this article, and think outside the box to come up with a few original ideas of your own!  You can incorporate any items you may already have, just paint them with a coordinating shade in high-gloss for totally modern appeal.

 

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Sep 21 2010

Give Your Bathroom a New Look Without Overspending

Published by under Bathrooms

Is your bathroom plain and boring?  Many people find that the most visited room in the house is the least attractive.  A complete makeover is beyond many people’s budget, but you want that room to look more appealing, especially to those who visit your home.  You don’t have to install a new tub along with fancy vanity and expensive mirrors to make your bath one of your favorite rooms!  This article offers information that will help you transform your bathroom into one you don’t recognize, all while spending a few hundred dollars or less, instead of thousands.

Before You Begin

 

Before you get started on your bathroom makeover, give your bathroom a thorough cleaning.  It always makes you feel better if you start with a good cleaning from top to bottom, and the results will be better when your project is completed.  If you do any painting, the results are much more professional looking when you start on a clean base.

Tub Need a Facelift?

 

If your tub looks like it has seen better days, do as much as you can to improve its appearance.  If you have tiles surrounding the tub, scrub them to remove any mold or mildew that may have accumulated.  Caulk around the fixtures, and around the edge of the tub if necessary.  Little things like this make a big difference in the appearance of your bathroom.

 

Add Color

 

Are your bathroom walls white?  Perhaps you have old wallpaper that gives the room a worn look.  If you do have wallpaper that is unattractive, strip it off and paint.  Be bold, and don’t be afraid to use soft shades of blue, peach, even lavender.  If your bath is small, steer clear of dark colors which will only make it look darker.  Also, remember to use paints that are made for use in areas where humidity or moisture accumulate so that your new look will last longer.

Towels are to be used for drying off after a bath or shower, but buy a few extras and add a splash of color!  Deep green towels look magnificent when hung against a pale peach wall.  Choose three colors to use throughout your bath, one being dominant while the others complement or contrast.

Accessories

 

A bathroom really isn’t the place to have numerous accessories and knick-knacks sitting around.  To give your bath a clean, vibrant look, invest a little money in a new shower curtain and bath mat that add further appeal to the room.  For the vanity, colored lotion bottles and pretty soaps are all you need.  You may want to add a large scented candle, not only for the beauty but for luscious scent as well.

You really don’t have to spend money that is not within your budget to make your bathroom look fresh and appealing!  All you need is a little paint, a couple of towels for décor, and perhaps a new shower curtain along with a bath mat.  Remove the clutter, keep the lines clean and enjoy your new bathroom – one that cost only a fraction of a complete remodel.  Not only will your guests be impressed, your entire family will love the new look of the room.

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