Archive for February, 2012

Feb 29 2012

Transform Your Boring Patio in to An Outdoor Room

Published by under Patios & Decks

Most patios are quite boring – a concrete slab that is void of decoration and color.  Spring is coming up soon, and barbecue’s will be firing up all over the neighborhood.   Why not transform your patio in to a charming “outdoor room”, perfect for entertaining guests or just relaxing?

Here are a few tips that will help you create a warm, inviting space that offers privacy and relaxation.

Natural elements create a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere

Two things you need to consider when creating your outdoor room from an existing patio – natural stones and plenty of greenery.

Consider paving the concrete with natural stones, or creating “walkways” through your patio using stone.  Set greenery around the perimeter of your patio in clay or ceramic pots, or consider two or three trellises filled with climbing vines to help seclude your patio from the outside world.

Think of your patio as an “outdoor” living room

In order for your patio to be its most beautiful and relaxing, the right furniture is a must.  Wicker is a good choice if you like a natural garden atmosphere.  Webbed or plastic lawn chairs just won’t do when you are creating a showplace!

You can also find many styles, fabrics, and designs which will help create any decor theme you like.  Bold stripes, bright floral patterns and vibrant solid colors allow you to design any look you like.  Most outdoor furniture is constructed of weather-proof materials, so you won’t have to worry about moisture damage or fading.

Rugs offer additional color and texture

Rugs are another element of decorating that help add a warm touch and contribute texture to your patio.  Unlike the old outdoor rugs that were mostly constructed of rubber or looked a bit like Astroturf, the rugs available for outdoor use today range from hand knotted oriental rugs and contemporary styles to braided rugs.

For a striking look, arrange the largest pieces of patio furniture around a large area rug.  This makes for an intimate, cozy setting that is perfect for guests.

Room “dividers” separate areas of larger patios

If your patio is large, you may want to create separate areas; one for cooking and barbecuing, the other for relaxing.  To separate one area from another, consider old wooden shutters that are on the tall side, or even decorative screens.  The wooden shutters can be painted any color you like, or even stenciled for a dramatic effect.

Accents are what really set the look apart.  Consider hanging lanterns and candles for an ambient atmosphere.  Lanterns can also be set on tables or wooden benches or anywhere that provides the right amount of light and is out of the reach of small children.

Outdoor fire pits and chimineas are another great idea for the patio.  Not only are they beautiful and decorative, they will provide a bit of warmth on those chilly early summer evenings.

It’s easy to transform your patio into a beautiful extension of your home.  Try some of these ideas, and use your imagination to come up with a few unique ideas of your own.

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Feb 24 2012

Do-it-Yourself Tips for Transforming a Bedroom on a Budget

You want your bedroom to be beautiful, relaxing and comfortable.  If you’re tired of the current look but cannot afford a complete remodel, there are many affordable, small touches you can add that make a noticeable impact.  This article offers a few tips and ideas to help make your tired bedroom a beautiful, relaxing retreat that you will enjoy; whether reading, watching television or slumbering.

Add color to the focal point of the room – the bed!

Dressing up your bed is easy, and you can do it without spending more than your budget can handle.

Make throw pillows yourself!  This can easily be accomplished with felt or any other fabric you like, scissors, fiberfill and a needle and thread.  Simply cut out any patterns you like (square, round, etc.), sew together with what will be the outside of the pillow facing together, and leave a 4 inch section open so that you can stuff the pillow with fiberfill.

Once you have completed your pillows, you can embroider, stencil or add appliqués to give them additional personality and color.

Have a boring lamp on your nightstand?

Lamps are easy to transform; in fact, you can do so much to a lamp that anyone who sees it would never think it was the same lamp you had before.

If your lampshade is a solid color or white, consider painting it or gluing a boldly patterned piece of fabric to the shade!  This is easy to do.

Once you have your lampshade covered with fabric or painted, glue crystals, beads, lace or anything else that lends to your decor to the shade.  You can even string beads so that they hang in a fringe-type fashion around the perimeter of the lamp.

If the base of your lamp is crafted of wood, paint it a different color which still matches your decor.  If you like a rustic or worn look, whitewash the lamp or sand around the edges slightly for a distressed look.

Throw in a couple of new rugs

Rugs can dramatically transform the look of a room, and the bedroom is no exception.  Whether you like rag rugs, braided rugs or hand-knotted oriental rugs, the options are endless.

Do you prefer soft, subdued colors or bright bold patterns? Rugs can take your floor from drab to colorful and warm.  Don’t hog all of the rugs for the floor – throw one on the wall to create a unique focal point!

Buy an affordable throw for the bed at one of the big-box stores, add some storage bins under the bed to remove the clutter from the dresser and night stand, and your bedroom takes on a whole new look!

Crafting your own curtains, refinishing your current bedroom furniture, adding a new mirror above the dresser – there are dozens of things you can do to freshen up the decor of your bedroom without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars!

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Feb 22 2012

Add “Artwork” to Your Spaces With Rugs

Rugs are an integral part of your decorating scheme.  Used correctly, rugs of various styles can add class, grace, warmth and a splash of color to any home.  When it comes to decorating a home, many people think only of walls and furnishings – but floors have a lot to do with the way the room looks when completed!

With the wrong floor coverings, what would be a beautiful room ends up looking incomplete or even stark.  Here are a few tips which explain how certain types of rugs can dress up the rooms in your home.

Hand-knotted Oriental rugs
Oriental and Persian rugs are often hand-knotted by skilled artisans who take pride in their craft.  It may take up to two years for a craftsman to complete one rug!  Many are crafted of wool and silk, and painstakingly knotted by hand.

These rugs come in a variety of designs, colors and sizes to complement any decor theme.  Whether you are looking to add an elegant look to your home, or need bold, geometric designs for contemporary pizzazz, handmade rugs are perfect and often kept as family heirlooms.

The nice thing about hand woven rugs is that they are extremely durable and of the highest quality.  From small sizes that are perfect for an entry way or corner to area size rugs that cover a huge portion of the floor in a living room, these rugs offer “art” for your home.  Since many are crafted of wool, they are also flame retardant and free of allergens which can cause health issues for some family members.

Many of these Oriental and Persian rugs are crafted in Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey and other areas, then imported to rug galleries who inspect them closely for quality and flaws.  While most are a big investment, those who purchase these rugs feel they are well worth it since many last for decades and even centuries.

Braided rugs
Braided rugs have been around forever, and are just as popular today as they were 30 years ago. Typically used in country or traditional style homes, these rugs are designed for beauty and are the perfect way to add a down-home, comfortable touch to any room.

Braided rugs come in various colors and sizes; while most are oval shaped and oblong, you will find large varieties that are perfect when placed under an intimate furniture arrangement.

Smaller sizes work well in bedrooms and kitchens.  Braided rugs may be placed on both sides of a bed to add warmth to the floor during those cold winter months!

In the kitchen, consider smaller braided rugs placed on the floor in front of the sink, and in front of an entrance door if you have one coming in to the kitchen or dining room area.

Don’t waste all of your rugs on the floor – many make dramatic wall decor as well!  A large hand-knotted Oriental rug placed on a wall creates a colorful focal point for the room.

Never underestimate the power of rugs when it comes to decorating your home.  Floors need color; not only are rugs exquisitely beautiful, they also help to protect your floors from wear.

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Feb 14 2012

Creating an Old-Style Country Look for Your Living Room

No other style of decorating offers a warm, comfortable atmosphere in addition to the charming beauty associated with country decorating.  Even in the modern times in which we live, country decorating holds a special place in the heart of many people who grew up in a rural setting or on a farm.

Whether you live in the middle of a bustling city or in the country, you can recreate the look of a decade ago, adding charm and character to your living room.

Choose a color scheme first
Before you start deciding on accents, curtains and other elements of the room, decide what colors you want to use.  It’s best to stick to three colors so that the look is balanced, with one color being the dominant color for the room.

Country colors range from cream and pale red or rusty shades to country blues and brown tones, shades of orange, warm yellow and forest green.

Warm up the walls with a rustic touch
Some people use a wainscoting technique for the walls.  This simply means that you will use a different element for the bottom half of the wall than what is used on the top half.

Rough boards create a rustic look and add texture.  Run the boards vertically up the wall to a point that is about 3 to 3 1/2 feet from the floor.  Use nails to put the boards on the wall instead of glue; if you ever decide to remove the boards, nails will leave far less damage than glue.

Top the boards off with a pine board that is 2 x 4 inches, running horizontally across the top of the vertical boards.  For a country look, stain the boards in a light pine or oak stain.  Paint the remainder of the wall, up to the ceiling, with the color of your choice.

Stick with wood or tile for floors
Carpeting doesn’t lend itself to an authentic country look.  For real country style appeal, choose hardwood flooring or tile in a rustic finish.

While you want the wood floors or tile to be on display, throw rugs are a must for adding warmth and a splash of color in country decorating.  Braided rugs are perfect for this use, and come in a wide range of sizes and colors.  Scatter them around randomly for a relaxed, comfortable look.

Decorative accents can add country flair to almost any type of furniture
While it is best if you can afford country style furniture, there are things you can do to make your current furniture take on a more countrified look and feel.

If you can afford to buy new furniture, stick to wood or leather when possible.  Wood arms combined with floral upholstery are common in a country themed home.  Wood accent and end tables help complete the look.

Now, for a few simple tricks to give any style furniture that country look.  Large crocheted doilies placed on the arms of a chair or couch add an old-fashioned touch.  Toss a few country-themed throw pillows in the mix, and your furniture has transformed to country!  There are also a huge number of fitted slip-covers available that you can use to entirely cover your furniture, giving it a whole new look.

When it comes to accents for the walls, country decor often leans toward a farm or western theme, using old items that look like they are “gently” worn.  Old-fashioned kitchen implements such as small iron skillets, rolling pins, small barn tools, saws, old farm pictures and other items all give new life to bare walls and add warmth.

Decorating your home in old-style country is easy!  Put these tips and ideas to use in your home, and you may find that this is the most comfortable, welcoming environment you have ever come home to after a long hard day.

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Feb 10 2012

Stylish Storage Solutions for Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Storage space presents a problem for many home owners.  You may not have much closet storage space, and have many things for which there is simply not enough space.  How can you store those things away that you don’t use frequently, and remove the clutter from your home?  The ideas below will help make your home more beautiful while stowing away the things you may not need until next season.

Double duty furnishings

Today, many manufacturers are building furniture that serves two functions.  For example, some wood beds are now constructed with storage built in to the base of the bed, which allows you to take advantage of space that would have otherwise gone unused.  This storage often contains both shelves and drawers, perfect for shoes, sweaters, etc.

Now you can even find dining room tables with hidden storage!  Some of these tables open up in a way that is similar to a piano, while others have drawers that are perfect for storing flatware, linens and other items you have no room for.

Some night stands even offer built-in chargers so that you can charge your iPad or phone!  Manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the storage problems that many people face, and are implementing clever storage ideas in to their products.

Getting organized in your home

Think outside the box when it comes to storage.  If you are considering a bench for the living room or a bedroom, there are many available that have a slatted shelf below for shoes.  The cushions offer cover for a lift-up seat where you can store even more!

Have books, magazines, towels and other smaller items, but nowhere to put them?  Storage baskets are not only perfect for storing away some of those smaller items which can make a bathroom or living room look cluttered, they lend texture and style to the room.

Crafted of woven grass in reinterpreted Indonesian ikat patterns are baskets which come in various sizes for your needs.  Now you can add a stylish touch to a room while “hiding” the clutter!

Boxes and baskets dress up a room while hiding the mess

Many people are still drawn toward boxes and baskets for storage, but this doesn’t mean you have to stick to the old-time wicker basket or cardboard box.

Today’s boxes and baskets are stylish and meant to be admired.  Some are upholstered; you can expect to find wool flannel, perky cotton prints, skin cladding, canvas and even leather so that you can have attractive storage for any decorating style.

Baskets can be natural or stained, or brightly colored in stripes and other patterns.  There are a wide range of weaves you can choose from to add a punch of texture and color to your home.

As you can see, there is no longer an excuse for a messy, cluttered home!  Even if you have little to no storage space, there are hundreds of solutions available.  Happy de-cluttering!

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Feb 08 2012

5 Easy Steps to Transform Small Spaces In to Spaces That Live Large

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Small rooms can seem cramped, dark and quite honestly, uncomfortable.  If you live in a small apartment or house with rooms that tend to be on the small side, all hope is not lost.  There are a few tricks you can use that will visually open up the space, making it look twice as large as it actually is.  The tips you find below will help you create spaces that, while minimal in square footage, allow you to live large!

When it comes to walls, lighten up

It is a proven fact that dark colors diminish, lighter colors reflect.  Think of those who diet; they often wear black because it makes them look smaller.  The same thing is true of any room – dark colors make the room appear even smaller than it actually is.

Choose light colors to decorate your small spaces.  You don’t have to stick to white, which can be boring and bland.  Light neutral shades such as soft taupe, light gray or light apricot look bright and fresh, especially when trimmed out with white around baseboards, windows and door facings.

Keep the colors in every room of your home similar; having drastically different colors from room to room chops up the area and contributes further to the small feel.

Select furnishings on a smaller scale

It is important that you choose the right type of furniture when you have smaller rooms.  You can just imagine the look of a large corner sectional sofa if you have a living room that is only 12 x 14 in floor space!

Avoid bulky or over-sized furnishings and stick to pieces that are designed on a smaller scale.  In a petite living room, a regular sized sofa that is sleek in design, paired with a chair, ottoman and coffee table are all that you need.

Storage is often at a premium in small homes, so choose your pieces wisely

Smaller homes and apartments often lack storage space.  If you find that you have more “stuff” than your closets can accommodate, think about creative ways to store items you don’t use often such as clothes and other things.  For example, there are plastic or wood storage bins with “drawers” that can be placed underneath a bed for extra storage.  Have an antique or cedar trunk?  It can sit at the foot of the bed; store winter clothes and other items inside.

Make the best possible use of shelves in any room, including the living room.  If chosen wisely, a shelf can hold books, the television, magazines and other items.  Some units even have drawers built in.

Cut the clutter, and cut the confusion

Clutter only serves to make any room look messy and even smaller than it really is.  For an open look, get rid of the clutter and use only a few well-chosen accents.

If your table tops are piled with books, magazines, candles, knick-knacks and other items, get rid of them!  A small accent lamp and one decorative item is all you need to add color to a table.

Clear out the floor space as well.  If there are magazine racks, several rugs, wicker baskets and other things that really just “take up space”, take them out.  A single area rug adds color and warmth to the floor and gives the room a neat, organized look.

These are some of the best ideas you will find for making small rooms look much larger than their actual size.  Put these tips to use in your small home, and let your home live large!

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Feb 03 2012

Easy and Affordable Kitchen Decorating Tips

While you probably thought your kitchen decor was beautiful when you first designed it, after a few years it begins to get a bit old and dull; you’re ready for a change, but you don’t have the money for a complete remodeling job.  In this article, you will discover some great tips for transforming your kitchen without draining your budget.

Brighten up the kitchen and create an airy look for summer

Summer is just around the corner, and you want a kitchen that is fresh, light and appealing.  To achieve an open, bright look place mirrors on the walls in your dining room to reflect the light from the windows.  Place the mirrors directly across the room from windows or in a corner on the wall adjacent to the wall with a window for the most reflected light.

Rearrange the kitchen furniture to create a “summer arrangement”.  You could move the furniture into a diagonal pattern; take a leaf out of the table to create more space, even remove dark colored or heavily patterned table runners and chair pads, replacing them with bright colored cotton fabrics for an airy effect.

Freshen up the walls

Painting the walls is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to change the look of a room.  In the kitchen, bright colors offer a cheerful atmosphere.  While you may like white, try light shades of apricot, sage green or butter yellow.

Texturing techniques can add drama, and are easy to do.  Learn how to sponge, rag roll or feather dust a wall to create intricate patterns that are much like textured wall paper or stucco walls.

Bring the outdoors inside with plants

Real or silk, plants add life to any room.  Sit live or silk plants in window sills in ceramic or copper planters; hang a larger plant from the ceiling to dress up a bare corner.  If you have an open area above your kitchen cabinets, arrange several plants of various sizes for an appealing look.

Rugs – the solution to a variety of problems

Do your floors lack color?  Are they worn in areas where traffic is heavy?  A new floor can cost a great deal of money, but rugs can give your kitchen a whole new look and add color and warmth to a room.

If you have a country kitchen, add brightly colored sunflower rugs in high traffic areas or in front of the sink.  Bold, bright patterns work well in a modern kitchen. For a bistro-style or French country kitchen, large oriental rugs make a dramatic impact.  Today, you can find rugs in any style, shape, size or color to suit your decorating needs – and they’re great for covering up worn areas, burn marks and more!

Look around to see what might work for you.  There are lots of simple ideas you can find in home decorating magazines, on television, even online.  Sometimes the best ideas come when you’re just browsing around with nothing specific in mind.

Put these ideas to work in your kitchen – you will be amazed at how much appeal you can add to your kitchen with a minimum of money or effort.

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Feb 02 2012

Living Room Design Tips

Today, living room themes vary as much, and are as individual as, the people who live in their homes.  It’s even common for a living room to be fairly ignored, as more and more people tend to congregate in the kitchen/dining room area of the home to eat, visit with neighbors, play games and just enjoy each other’s company.  If you have been thinking about updating your living room but don’t know what to do with it, the information in this article will help you with the task.

Give it plenty of thought

Think about the other members in your family, and what they enjoy doing.

If you have teenagers, do they usually retreat to their bedrooms to watch television or listen to music?  Get them involved in designing the living room area.  You may find that if you set up areas in the living room that are meant for listening to music, playing games or watching television, your teens spend more time with the family.

Would you rather your living room be more of a family room where everyone relaxes, reads and unwinds at the end of the day, or do you prefer a more formal area that is quiet and peaceful, no television or music allowed?

Keep these things in mind so that your living room will be used exactly as you intend.  Your desire may be a mixture of the things mentioned above, but whatever it is, decide before you begin to plan out the design.

Visualize your ideas

Next, put your thoughts on paper.  Write down those ideas you like best, and even draw a rough outline of different designs for the living room.  This could be living room furniture lay outs, color schemes, textiles, etc.

By writing down your ideas and sketching out your thoughts, those ideas that are your favorites will clearly be defined, making it easier for you when it comes time to begin the project.

Look through magazines or online and keep a folder of those design ideas that you love most.  Tear the pages out of magazines, print out the pictures you find online.

Deciding on furniture needs

How much seating you have available in your living room depends largely on the size of the room, but you do want to take account of how many people would usually be in the room if it were to be used.  Consider how many are in your family and whether you have company (relatives, friends) on a regular basis.

This will help you determine whether you need a sofa and recliner.  Perhaps additional furnishings such as a love seat or additional chair are appropriate.

Walls set the mood of the room

Your walls will be the most prominent aspect of the living room, so it’s important that you decide whether you want them to be bold and modern, warm and soft, elegant, casual, dramatic, etc.

The colors you choose for the walls will dictate the rest of the decor.  If your living room is large, consider rich shades of pumpkin, caramel, burgundy or grey-blue.  For a smaller living room, it’s usually best to stick to light shades of cream, butter yellow, apricot or pastel blue and green shades.

When it comes to accessories for the walls, the sky is the limit!  What you choose will depend largely on the theme you have chosen for the room.  Large tapestries, mirrors, bold prints, wall sconces – choose those things you really love instead of putting something on the wall just because “it fits”.

Put these tips to use when designing your living room and you just may see that your family actually starts migrating out of the kitchen and in to the room that was meant for gathering.

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