Archive for March, 2011

Mar 07 2011

Transform Your Deck or Patio into a Tropical Paradise

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Could your backyard use a little renovating?  Whether you have a patio or deck, you can make the back of your home a relaxing tropical paradise!  This is great for those evenings when you come home from work exhausted, and just want to relax outdoors in nice weather.  If set up properly, you can even do all of your cooking on your tropical-themed patio or deck!

Backyards tend to get neglected; by making some simple changes, you can have the most beautiful deck and backyard in the neighborhood.

Deck out the deck (or patio)

Depending upon how large your patio or deck is you can add anything from a tropical themed bar to a cooking and dining area.  For a paradisiacal atmosphere, add furnishings with a tropical tone.  Wicker or bamboo is perfect, as are materials that are designed with palm leaves, coconuts and other tropical accents.  Thatched umbrellas are ideal when arranged over the dining area; add some tiki torches, large sea shells and statues for an authentic tropical appeal.

To make your “tropical island” more private, you may want to consider planting bamboo along the property line as it grows fast, and provides a lush green barrier from the outside world.  You can also build extra seating around the perimeter of your deck or patio using natural wood such as pine.  This will help separate the area from the rest of the yard.

Tropical plants set the mood

Plants can make the deck or patio area even more tropical in appearance.  Some varieties that you may want to consider include bougainvillea, ferns, hosta and bird of paradise.  Place these plants around the perimeter, or even hang a few if you have a roof over your deck or patio.  If you do use an abundance of plants in decorating your tropical haven, be prepared to water and take care of them in order to keep them lush and green.

Expand your tropical island in to the backyard

You may even consider extending the tropical theme out into your backyard.  To do this, simply use bamboo along the back property line.  If you have small children, create a “beach” with sand in one area.  A small pond or waterfall adds further to the beauty and peacefulness of the area.  Large rocks and tropical plants can be placed around the sand “beach” and around the pond or fountain as well.

When dining on your patio, carry the tropical theme in your plates, serving platters, utensils and centerpiece for the table.  A pineapple or coconut surrounded by palm leaves would make a great centerpiece; you may even want to think about adding a bamboo screen to separate the dining area from the cooking area.

Use the colors you find at the beach when renovating your deck or patio; sea blue shades, sand and sunny yellow will energize and inspire you!  Put these ideas to work for your deck and backyard and create a gorgeous setting that is sure to attract attention – your neighbors will be green with envy!


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Mar 07 2011

Transforming Your Basement in to a Haven for Music Lovers

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Are you or a member of your family musically talented?  You may require an area to practice, especially if you have a teen who is a member of a band.  While you may not be able to build a music room as an addition to your home, why not transform a basement that you seldom use?  It’s fairly simple to accomplish, and the music lover in the home will absolutely love the idea.

Color not only lends life to the decor, it sets the mood

The first thing you want to consider when planning this transformation is to think of the colors you want involved in the room.  Color plays a very important role in inspiring feelings, something that many musicians address in their songs.  The musician in the family should have some say-so over the color choices.  You want to stick to a three-color theme which could include lively, energetic shades of red, orange and yellow or relaxing tones of blue, green and lavender.  These decisions often hinge on whether your musician’s music tends to lean toward rock and roll, or soft ballads.

Original wall art adds to the music-oriented atmosphere

After you have chosen the colors to paint the room, consider what type of wall decor you want.  Sticking with the music theme, paint symbols or musical notes using stencils.  You might also consider cutting musical notes out of sheet metal to hang on the wall for a dramatic impact!

You can often find used musical instruments quite cheaply at some online sites.  Search eBay and Craigslist to see what you can find, then hang your purchases on a single wall as a collection.  An opposite wall could include framed prints of the musician’s favorite bands and musical artists.

Comfortable furnishings are a must!

While you want appealing, comfortable furniture in any room, furnishing a musicians studio with comfortable furniture is essential.  This is where they will relax and let their mind wander as they come up with new songs and lyrics; the musician needs plush, comfortable chairs and sofas on which to do their work.  Over-sized pillows are great for use on the sofa or floor!

Carpeting the floors help to absorb the sound, but you also want to use a carpet that enhances the decor of the room.  Consider absorption foam or panels to help enhance sound quality, and add lighting that can easily be raised or dimmed to enhance the “mood” for your musician.  A lava lamp may be a good choice as an accent; and consider a blacklight if there are any fluorescent wall hangings in the room.

Any musician would love to have a room of their own where they can write, play their music, listen to other bands for inspiration and perhaps record a few songs.  Put the ideas above to use in your basement, and create not only a useful room, but one with a real “wow” factor.

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Mar 07 2011

Turn Your Kitchen Into a Gourmet Coffee Shop

Published by under Kitchens

If you often visit a local coffee shop, you may find that the atmosphere is relaxing, calming and enjoyable.  Do you sometimes wish you could recreate that atmosphere in your own home?  If you love all things coffee and the ambiance a coffee shop offers, you should consider decorating your kitchen like a coffee shop.  Not only will it bring warmth to your home, it will set a calming mood and will be very welcoming to visitors.

Rich, warm colors are inviting

When considering how to decorate your kitchen to mimic the feeling of a coffee shop, think about the colors that many coffee shops use in their decor. Some of these include chocolate browns, deep purples, oranges and deep reds.  These warm tones are what lend to the warm, relaxing atmosphere.  An eggshell color will add lighter tones to the room and bring the look all together.

Decorating is the second key thing to consider when adding coffee shop appeal to your kitchen.  Expand your display area by hanging shelves on bare walls; use cherry wood or black shelves to create extra storage and add a bit of your own unique personality to the room.  Also, put your teapot or coffee mug collection on shelves or just display them on the counter.  Put other coffee related antiques on display as well; this will bring that coffee shop feel to the area, and also be a great conversation starter with visitors.  Your kitchen should have a coffee or espresso maker that is up-to-date, as well as matching kitchen appliances such as a new toaster oven.

Choosing artwork for the walls

Coffee themed artwork is perfect for the walls; this can include coffee cup images or other rendered works of art related to java or mocha.  Create groupings on one wall for a cozy themed corner. You may also want to consider mixing coffee artwork with modern abstract prints for an eclectic look that is bold and striking.  Old-fashioned coffee shops often use chalkboards for advertising the daily specials or to promote a new menu item.  You can steal this idea by hanging a large chalkboard in your kitchen to write down grocery needs, to-do items or a weekly meal menu!  This adds a charming and unique touch to your kitchen.

You may also want to add a “conversation” area to the kitchen where you can visit with guests and enjoy coffee and a muffin.  In one corner of the room, use overstuffed chairs and a small occasional table flanked by a floor lamp with a metallic base and brightly colored shade.

The small accents often make the biggest impact!  If you use packaged coffee, display it in baskets on your counter tops or kitchen table.  Plants, a magazine rack, and a few modern hanging sconces for subtle lighting complete your coffee shop kitchen.

With a little creativity and the ideas above, you can transform a normal kitchen into one with all of the ambiance of your favorite coffee shop – and save money by making your own cuppa joe!

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Mar 07 2011

Transforming Your Garage in to a Spectacular Home Theater

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Watching television and looking through magazines can make you very envious of those who have a home theater, especially if you are a movie fanatic yourself or love listening to music.  Can’t afford to add a room on to your home?  If your garage is used mostly as a storage space or is just cluttered and you don’t use it for your car, it’s a great place to consider for your own home theater!

Not only can you finally get some use out of that cluttered garage, you can even make some extra money by having a garage or carport sale to get rid of the things you no longer want or need.  The extra money you make would be a great investment in your new theater.

Before you begin

It’s a good idea to check with your local building authority to make sure that you can transform your garage into an interior room.  Most cities allow this, but check just to be on the safe side.

What to do with the garage door

The best thing you can do is remove it and wall in the door area as a part of your home theater. By walling in the area instead of opting for an interior build-out, the room will be better insulated from cold air and drafts.  Your home theater will be comfy and cozy, perfect for those evenings when all you want to do is lounge around and watch television.

Once you have the garage emptied out it’s time to start considering the plumbing and electrical systems.  You want to determine where your pipes, circuit boxes and other important building components will be so that you don’t make the mistake of placing your big screen television or other electronics directly in front of the control panel that may need to be easily accessed.

Additionally, you will want to add outlets to accommodate all of the equipment that will be plugged in, and upgrade any electric or plumbing to code.

Next you will want to inspect your walls so that you can replace any deteriorating or rotten drywall.  If the insulation in your garage is inadequate, this would be the perfect time to upgrade so that the room stays warm and comfortable.  Also consider sound absorbing insulation so that no matter how loud you play the television or stereo, you won’t bother other members of the family – or the neighbors.

Once you have inspected the walls and installed the proper insulation, it’s time to paint!  For this part of the project you can choose any color you like, whether dark and rich, neutral or bright.  You may opt for lighting that can be adjusted from dim to bright with a single knob.

Consult with a flooring expert to determine what type of flooring would be best for your needs.  Concrete is very hard on the feet, and holds the cold temperatures as well. Garage floors are usually sloped, and must be leveled. It may be that your floor needs a special insulating board beneath the carpet or tile you choose, so that it holds in the heat better and keeps the room (and your feet) more comfortable.

Now it’s time to decorate!

Now you get to the most fun part of all – decorating your new home theater!  You may opt for theater seating, or simply use a couple of sofas and recliners on which you and your guests can enjoy the show.

You may want to consider setting up a mini-kitchen in one corner of the room where you can keep a mini-fridge and microwave, so that when you’re ready to enjoy the show you will have soft drinks, popcorn and other snacks readily available.

Your home theater is a room you will definitely enjoy and spend hours of time in, so decorate it to your hearts content.  Never in your wildest dreams would you have thought that a junked up garage could be transformed into a room that is enjoyed immensely by the entire family!

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Mar 04 2011

Transforming an Unused Basement in to a Cozy Family Room

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Have you been thinking about a cozy family room for your home?  If you have a basement that is seldom used, you might want to consider transforming it into a room your family will enjoy.  Adding on to your house can be extremely costly; with a basement, you can make a few minor changes and have a room that is comfortable, relaxing and inviting.

Basements can be cold, damp and to be truthful, a bit scary at times.  When you think about changing it into a family room it may not sound very appealing at first, but you will be amazed when the project is complete!

There are a few tasks that need to be completed prior to decorating your new family room.  If the walls are not insulated, you will want to insulate them and make sure that there are no air leaks around doors or windows; assuming your basement isn’t completely underground.  You don’t want them to allow the cold air during the winter months.  Make the room airtight and finish out minor details before transforming the space into your family room.

Finish walls and ceilings

If the walls and ceilings of your basement were never finished, do this before moving your furnishings in.  Also make repairs if there are any rough spots or holes before painting.  On the walls, consider a light colored paneling or paint.  By painting your walls, you get to choose any color you like and decorate the room with furnishings and accents that complement or contrast one another.

Create a warm, comfortable floor

Even if you take care of any existing leaks or drafts, the basement still tends to be a chilly room.  While that is great in the summer, during the winter it can be a real problem; the concrete flooring only adds to the problem.  To warm up the room and add to the cozy effect, choose carpet.  Many families enjoy a rustic family room; if this is you, consider Spanish tile for the floors but realize that you might want to install in floor heating if you do.

Carpet is easier on the feet and adds warmth to the room that tiles cannot match, but consider what sort cleaning your floor will require before making your final decision.  Carpet must be vacuumed on a regular basis to maintain its plushness, and should be shampooed occasionally to remove dirt and dust.  Tile floors are easily kept clean with sweeping and mopping.  If you do choose tile flooring, you may want to add warmth and color using accent rugs scattered randomly around the room.

Whichever you decide on, consider going to the home supply store and bringing home a few samples of each so that the whole family can be involved in the final decision.

Make the room one you will love through accents

You can make your basement a room you will absolutely fall in love with by adding a few updates.  If you have avid readers in your household, build a bookshelf along an entire wall. If there are no windows in the room, hang a large mirror and surround it with curtains as you would a window for a unique effect!

Decorating a basement can be fun, especially if the entire family joins in.  Since this is a room that is especially for the family, put aside your worries about everything being perfect or in its place!  This is a “fun” room, one in which your family can relax and enjoy.  Make it your own by adding anything and everything that makes your family room home.

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Mar 04 2011

Spend Quality By Decorating Your Teen’s Room Together

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

As your child approaches their teenage years, they will want a change in the way their bedroom is decorated.  Teenagers don’t want a theme that looks childish; boys often enjoy sports themes or something a bit on the masculine side, while girls love exotic animal-print themes or a look that is a bit more feminine.

By changing the look of your teens’ room you not only have fun, you can spend quality time with your child by letting them choose much of the decor, and making the decorating a joint effort.  Teenagers have their own opinions, and want to express themselves through the bedroom decor.  This can be a fun project for both of you!

Share ideas and compromise

Always share ideas when redecorating your teen’s room; teenagers have very specific ideas, so the two of you can come to a compromise on how the room should be decorated.  By including your teen in choosing the theme for the room, accessories and other decor, they will be happy with the results.  Ask questions regarding study space, furniture, wall decor and other accents.  Storage is often a problem during the teenage years, as they have so many things they have collected over the years.  Consider placing budget-friendly storage containers under the bed to keep the room clean and uncluttered.

Creative ideas transform furnishings

If you don’t have a budget that allows for all new furniture, you can make dramatic changes yourself.  Remove old paint or stain if you have wood furnishings, then re-paint and sand edges for a worn look.  If your teen would rather have something a bit more modern looking, you can paint the furniture in bold colors and even stencil modern or abstract patterns on the furnishings.  Consider the intended colors for the walls, window treatments and other accessories before completing the furniture.

Bold or subtle walls?

For the walls, anything goes!  From dramatic, bold shades of red and orange to neutral tones like sand, black and beige.  Talk to your teen about their preferences.  Colors evoke feelings and affect mood; orange and bright green are energetic, while shades of soft blue and lavender are relaxing.  Consider your teen’s personality, and whether they are a quiet type who enjoys a subtle atmosphere or a more outgoing type who prefers bold and dynamic surroundings.  You and your teen will enjoy painting the room together; if they choose a color of paint that you feel is too overwhelming for the entire room, compromise by painting a single wall in the color and adding the shade to other more subtly colored walls through a rag-rolling or sponging technique.

You and your teen can be satisfied with the results of your efforts.  While your teen may want the entire room from floor to ceiling done in a leopard or soccer theme which can be too much, you can still compromise.  Carry the theme through the room with bedding, accent rugs and throw pillows that are designed with prints, and keep window treatments and walls a bit more on the subtle side.  Or, go all out with the walls, lamps, and wall accessories, and keep bedding and accent rugs in solid colors.  A good mix will make the teen happy – and you won’t be crazy every time you enter the room by a look that is overwhelming!

Think more about bonding and spending quality time with your teen than you do about the theme they have chosen.  As with many other things in life, this too shall pass; you won’t have to spend the rest of your life looking at cheetah prints and soccer balls.

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Mar 03 2011

Island Themed Decor For Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Is the theme or decor of your living room getting a bit stale?  Maybe you’re ready for a small change or perhaps a complete transformation. There are endless ways to change up the appeal and atmosphere of a room, but if you are looking for a more relaxed feel, try decorating your place in an island theme.  This is a dramatic change that offers a relaxed atmosphere, making you feel as if you are on a tropical vacation even though you never left home.

Natural flooring

If you want to turn a room in your home into an island getaway, start with the floors.  The floors can make an enormous difference when it comes to decorating.  In order to create a tropical island appeal, the floors should have natural wood tones to create a fresh and organic feel.  Jute and bamboo work great as well.  To really add pizzazz to a room, try adding straw floor coverings or rugs with leaf or tropical prints.  If you want more of a timeless, vintage island look, use richer tones.

Surf’s Up with Great Wall Finishes

No matter what you have accomplished in changing the decor of a room, it is never complete without adding a splash of color on the walls.  If a rustic beach appearance appeals to you, consider a stucco finish.  For colorful inspiration look to the beach for shades of sea blue, green, sun yellow and sand tones.  Need a focal point for your room?  Consider painting a fish or ocean scene on a large portion of one wall – you’re sure to garner the attention of everyone who enters!

Worn-in furnishings

You may be curious as to the types of furniture to use in an island themed room.  When shopping or browsing furniture, look for “worn-in” pieces that have small island related or tropical details or carvings.  Wicker furniture is great for an island theme, and also creates a breezy, outdoor atmosphere that is relaxing and inviting.  A vintage steamer trunk makes a great coffee table; a driftwood hanging rack makes the perfect place for guest’s coats.  Open up your windows and let plenty of natural sunlight flood the room!  Sheer curtains and bamboo shades are the perfect window treatments, and they are useful on those days when the sun is extremely bright.

Lamps created of natural materials and embellished with stones or pebbles are a perfect accompaniment to the island themed style of decorating!  Lamps that create an ambient glow add to the cozy, relaxed atmosphere reminiscent of nights spent on the beach by the glow of moonlight.

Leaf designs are also a perfect addition to the room; look for fabrics with a tropical tone.  Throw pillows and accent rugs should provide vibrant jolts of color, and can be solid or patterned with leaves, coconuts and other items that bring the word “tropical” to mind.  Add to the theme using your own creative ideas, and you will have a living room that offers warm island breezes and soothing surroundings that you never want to leave!

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Mar 03 2011

Giving Your Living Room a Taller Ceiling – A Few Simple Tricks Will Fool the Eye!

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

If your ceilings are low, it can make a room look smaller and more closed in.  You can make your ceilings look much higher, visually opening up the room!  A few simple tricks can transform your living room from one that looks claustrophobic to one that looks spacious, airy and open.  In this article you will find several useful techniques for expanding your living room, giving the impression of a higher ceiling.

Remove wall applications that shorten the walls

Things that make your walls look shorter visually bring the ceiling down.  For this reason, you want to remove any chair rails, paneling, wallpaper or other applications that go only halfway up the wall.  This type of decorating chops the wall up, making it look much shorter than it actually is.

You want to avoid when making your ceilings look higher is cutting your walls in half with paneling, wallpaper and other decorations.  If you love paneling and want to use it, choose a light shade and take it all the way up the wall to the ceiling.

Tricks to make your ceiling appear higher

One easy way to make you ceiling appear higher is to continue your ceiling color on to the wall.  If your ceiling is tan or cream, continue the color down the wall in a single horizontal stripe.  Consider ceiling tiles made of metal to give a mirror effect; the reflection makes the room appear larger than it actually is.  A white tile will also make the ceiling appear higher.

Paint is an easy way to raise your ceilings, and it is also affordable and within most budgets.  To keep your ceiling from closing in on you, consider painting both your walls and your ceiling an off-white or sand color.  Light colors open up spaces; dark colors diminish.

Another good idea is to hang a slim light fixture or ceiling fan in the center of the room to draw the eye upward.  Avoid bulky or thick looking fixtures, as they can make the ceiling seem lower.

Curtains and accessories can make the ceiling visually higher

A few easy, subtle changes can make your ceiling appear higher.  Consider hanging curtains or draperies close to the ceiling; the long line of the curtain will make the room appear taller.  Avoid drapes that are short or stop at the window sill, rather, take them to the floor instead.  Stone around a fireplace, when taken all the way up to the ceiling, will elongate walls and make the ceiling seem higher too.

Choose accessories that offer a long, slimming effect.  Artificial trees that are taller than usual, tall vases filled with dried flowers, and a bookcase that extends to the ceiling will all add height to your living room, making a short ceiling seem much taller.

Older homes often have very short ceilings, which can give a room a squatty effect.  Use the tips above in decorating your living room, and you will see that the room looks open and much more spacious!

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Mar 02 2011

Exotic Decorating – Reveal Your Wild Side!

Do you or someone you know have an outgoing or exuberant personality?  Are either of you looking for a way to express yourself through decorating?  Animal prints and bold colors or animal prints and neutral colors are a great way to attract attention and make a room come alive.  Using blacks, whites, and reds together is a wonderful way to show expression, but if you are looking for more neutral colors, try a subtle animal print.  Whichever you use, you can be sure your rooms will attract the attention of all who enter.

Don’t be afraid of red!

When it comes to decorating with exotic appeal, you want to be able to make the room look vibrant and attractive without overdoing it.  For the ultimate impact, paint your bedroom walls red.  If you don’t want to use red for the whole room, try painting the wall behind your bed red, leaving the remaining walls white or cream.  Use animal print wallpaper as a border or to cover a single wall or a portion of the wall.  This is a great way to add splashes of excitement to the room.

Choose basic furniture that doesn’t compete

A great way to add to the room is to choose furniture that complements the red tones and animal print, but doesn’t compete with them.  A good way to balance the color scheme is to choose dark chocolate or white furnishings that are solidly colored.

When it comes to the bed, a black wrought iron bed adds elegance and doesn’t compete. This type of bed is perfect when accessorized with black lacquered furniture such as a dresser or night stand.  Brass or silver finished metal headboards also work well in the exotic theme.

Animal print bedding really adds to the “wow” factor!  Black or red sheets are the perfect complement to zebra prints, and cow or leopard prints.  A giraffe theme works well with cream colored bedding; consider a giraffe or zebra print rug placed at the side or foot of the bed for added impact.

Window treatments

Use window treatments that complement the room nicely.  For neutral colored walls, consider curtains with an exotic design.  If you decide to go with bold walls, mesh curtains blend with the other elements of the room, creating a flirty, soft effect.

Wall decor is where your creativity really comes into play.  Consider animal prints framed in bold shades of red or black for walls that really pop!  On a large wall, choose an over-sized print that dominates the wall.  In the bedroom, two to three smaller prints will make a blank wall come to life.

The small details are what often “make” a room.  Consider lamps with tassels, lampshades designed in a zebra or leopard print, and bold ceramic bases.  Candles can be found in bold red and black, and you can also find them available in exotic styles.  If you choose to use red and black as your base colors, brass accents add a gleam that brightens the room.

You’re no wallflower, so make sure your home represents who you are!  By using animal prints paired with bold colors or neutral colors, you can make a statement about who you are – and the look is refreshing as well as beautiful.

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