Archive for March, 2012

Mar 19 2012

The Tuscan Style Kitchen Offers Old-World Charm and a Taste of Italy

Published by under Kitchens

Nothing is quite as relaxing and intimate as a Tuscan style kitchen.  The look is warm and inviting, rich and filled with natural elements.  Whether you are building a new home or simply want to give new life to an older kitchen, you will find this decor theme beautiful and comfortable.

Many families spend more time in the kitchen than they do in the family or living room.  For this reason, you want your kitchen to be as relaxing and appealing as possible.  The tips below will help bring a taste ofItalyto your kitchen.

Earthy colors – the basis of all things Tuscan

The colors typically found in a Tuscan themed custom kitchen include those found in nature.  Olive green, terra cotta, chocolate brown and of course wine shades, since grape vines and wine bottles are essential in this style of decorating.

You can use any variation of these colors depending on your preferences; just remember that the colors should closely mimic those you find outdoors, perhaps even in a vineyard.

Furnishings are rustic and solid

Wrought iron and rough-hewn wood are typically found in the Tuscan kitchen; the look is old and elegant.  A heavy rustic wood table decorated with a Tuscan inspired tablecloth is warm and inviting.

If your kitchen is large enough, consider an antique wood pie safe or an old wooden table as a center island used for chopping and other tasks.

Wrought iron is an essential element of the Tuscan style kitchen.  Chandeliers, wine racks, even a wrought iron pot holder hanging from the ceiling add charm and old-world atmosphere.

As far as cabinetry goes, consider glass front doors or no doors at all.  This will allow you to add decor and color to the room through spices and oils, ceramic dishes, colorful plates and all of those goodies you normally keep behind closed doors.  This look is what makes the Tuscan kitchen so rich and appealing.

Stone, pottery and other essentials

To achieve the most authentic look in a Tuscan kitchen, consider stone floors or stone-like ceramic tiles.  Clay pottery, bronze, wrought iron and other natural elements bring the look to life, and add further to the natural appeal of a Tuscan themed kitchen.

Wrought iron drawer handles add additional depth to the look.  Terra cotta pots filled with natural herbs like basil, rosemary and oregano are essential for an authentic Italian kitchen.

Spice up the walls

The wall decor is central to the Tuscan style kitchen.  Wrought iron accents, wine and grape prints, even hammered copper pots and pans hang on the walls, lending to the intimate atmosphere and ambiance of the room.  This is clearly a room that is well used.

Wrought iron candle sconces are a nice touch as well; consider hanging them on both sides of a beautifully crafted vineyard scene.

Soft, ambient lighting is another essential in the Tuscan kitchen.  Try to avoid bright fluorescent lights, opting for a warm glow that offers an intimate feeling to the room.

Bringing a bit ofItalyto your kitchen isn’t hard; look through magazines and online for more ideas that will help you transform your kitchen in to a show place.  For a warm, inviting atmosphere that draws everyone to the kitchen, nothing beats Tuscan decor.

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Mar 16 2012

Transform Your Dining Room from Boring to Beautiful

Decorating a dining room so that it is appealing and original can be a challenge.  You know the basics; a dining room table and chairs, perhaps a buffet or hutch.  How can you add personality to your dining room and make it appealing regardless of whether the look you are after is elegant, sleek or traditional?  The tips below will help you design a dining room that is comfortable, relaxing and gets noticed.

Consider your furnishings first

It’s essential that you take your furniture in to account when decorating your dining room.

If the look you are after requires new furnishings, consider your budget.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to create a country or Tuscan look if you have a contemporary dining room set.

Traditional furniture offers you the most flexibility in decorating as you can dress it up or down to suit your needs.  If you have yet to purchase dining room furniture, carefully consider the theme you intend to use before buying.

Walls, windows and other elements to consider

When decorating a dining room, consider the style you want to achieve.  For example, an elegant or formal dining room often looks beautiful when rich, deep colors and heavy window treatments are used.

If you prefer a cottage chic or country look, window treatments are light and breezy.  Use neutral and lighter colors on walls, floors and other decor.

An elegant chandelier adds a dramatic touch to a formal dining room.  If you prefer a more casual look, consider shopping for lighting fixtures and even a country or cottage styled lamp for the buffet.

When decorating the walls, consider the larger picture.  A light colored paint works well for cottage or country appeal, while deeper shades of burgundy or apricot are perfect for an elegant or formal dining room.  Also consider a chair rail or wainscoting for added depth.

Accessories complete the look

No room looks complete without the right accessories.

In an elegant dining room, a large portrait or dramatic mirror placed above the buffet is the perfect touch.  If the look you want to achieve is modern, a dramatic piece of abstract or geometric art adds color and impact.

In the country or traditional dining room, shelves displaying crockery, candles, plants and even family photos are a nice touch.

The right centerpiece for the dining room table is a must!  In a modern theme, consider a sculptural center piece designed using twisted branches; the country look calls for an old pitcher filled with colorful wildflowers.

If you desire additional color and pattern for the floor, consider a large area rug that fits under the table; make sure that edges will not interfere with moving chairs in or out.

Decorating a dining room is not as hard as it may seem, especially when you consider the furniture first.  Put these tips and ideas to work in your dining room, and transform it from ordinary to extraordinary.

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Mar 15 2012

Wall Decorating Ideas to Spice Up Your Living Spaces

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Decorating the walls in your home can be a challenge.  Without something special, a large wall tends to look stark.  A room with blank walls lacks personality and depth.  If you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas on how to transform your boring walls in to colorful, artistic walls, these ideas will help.

Paint isn’t what it used to be

Long gone are the days when you used a brush and roller to paint the walls a single color such as cream or off-white.

Today, paint can create a multitude of looks from textured and rich to country cottage chic.  Whether your home is decorated in modern, Victorian, traditional or country decor, you can spice up the walls easily with a little paint and creativity.

Paint walls a base color which complements the decor of the room, then go back and use sea sponges dipped in another color and randomly splotch the walls.  Rag rolling and feather dusting are great for this technique as well.

There are also a variety of textured wallpapers available to you.  Just apply one to the walls and then give it a coat of paint after it dries.  Depending on your decorating theme, there are also faux finishes and metallic paints available.

Wallpaper dresses up a room

Wallpaper isn’t what you remember from decades ago; today’s varieties add texture, bold designs and plenty of color.

If you have a painted wall, simply add wallpaper to either the bottom or top section of the wall.  Bold stripes, geometric patterns and soft floral designs add color and appeal to the walls.  Choose your colors and patterns according to the decorating theme of the room.

Wainscoting adds old fashioned charm

Wainscoting is a method in which you simply apply strips of wood to the bottom portion of a wall.  Beadboard is another option you may want to consider.  Applying grooved strips of wood from baseboard up to the height of about 3 feet gives walls a comfortable, cozy look and appeal.

The great thing about beadboard or wainscoting is that you can have the wood stained, or paint it any color you like and even “wear” it a bit by sanding or whitewashing if you enjoy a worn, rustic look.

Wall accents

There is a lot more to decorating a beautiful wall than simply hanging a few pictures.  Colorful texture makes a room appear warm and inviting.

Consider richly textured tapestries, or even a large oriental or contemporary rug for the wall, depending on your decor.  A large swath of fabric hung from a wall using push pins also makes a bold and unique statement.  A large oval or square accent mirror surrounded by flowing fabric is unique and stunning.

If you’re artistic and creative consider painting murals on the walls of your home.  This is a technique that is especially charming in the kid’s bedrooms.  Stenciling is easy as well.  Use stencils around the top portion of a wall next to the ceiling or around chair rails as a beautiful accent.

Without the proper decor, walls can make a room look like a box.  Put some of these wall decorating ideas to use in your own home, and create rooms that are warm, appealing and filled with life.

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Mar 13 2012

Creating a Country Cottage Style Bathroom

A country cottage style bathroom is the perfect blend of country and light airy floral elements.  Many of the items found in this type of decorating offer vintage appeal; the look is charming and old-fashioned, the perfect place to relax in a hot bubble bath after a long day.

Whether you have a large decorating budget or barely any budget at all, you can create the look in your own bathroom with these easy tips.

Warm up the walls

The right walls are essential to creating the country cottage style bathroom.  If your walls are simple painted sheet rock, you can easily transform the look.

Use beadboard (a special paneling designed with a distinctive grooved pattern) to dress up the walls.  Hardwoods create an authentic country look.  Just run beadboard panels from the baseboards to about half way up the wall, then paint using those soft pastel colors often found in a cottage chic decor such as cream, soft yellow or sage green.

Vintage style fixtures set the mood

In a country cottage style bathroom, the fixtures make all of the difference.  If your budget allows, purchase a pedestal sink and claw foot tub to lend an authentic look to the room.  You can often find bargains at antique malls and flea markets if your budget is tight.

If you cannot afford a claw foot tub, the pedestal sink alone will give the bathroom old-fashioned appeal.

Light and airy is the look – windows and mirrors make an impact

If you have a window (or windows) in your bathroom, avoid using dark colored window treatments.  Light, gauzy sheers enhance the look and allow plenty of natural light to spill into the room.  If you love the look of wood, and interior shutter-style window treatment works well – make sure you use a light color such as white or cream.

An etched Venetian mirror also helps to add a light, airy feeling to the room, especially when placed across from a window where it will reflect light.

Floral accents and wicker complete the look

Floral accents are a huge element in cottage chic decorating.  Plush towels designed using floral accents coordinate with walls; a floral arrangement atop a round white-washed wicker table adds charm and a feminine touch.  An old wooden chair that has been white-washed is the perfect accent for a corner; stack plush washcloths, towels and other linens that complement the decor.

A small crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling adds a touch of romance; wrought iron accessories blend well with vintage elements and wicker.

You can picture the country cottage bathroom in your mind easily; comfortable country blends perfectly with light, airy cottage chic elements.  Put these tips and ideas to work in your bathroom, and see how easy it is to indulge all of your senses after a long day at work.  Just for a few minutes, escape the kids and the worries of the world.

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Mar 08 2012

Pattern, Color & Texture – Creating Amazing Rooms

Not all that long ago homeowners wouldn’t dare mix patterns and colors in any way that wasn’t traditional.  Neutral colors were, for the most part, bland and lacked personality.  Today, all of the rules are out the window when it comes to decorating your home!  Rich textures, contrasting patterns and lots of color create rooms that are filled with personality and dimension.

There are still a few rules, but not too many.  If you’re ready to turn your dull home into an extraordinary showplace, here are a few tips for decorating with these various elements.

Consider room size when choosing patterns

Take the size of the room in to account when deciding on the patterns you want to use.  Large patterns can look overwhelming in a small room; for example, a large floral print on furniture upholstery tends to look garish.  For smaller rooms stick to small and medium sized patterns.

In contrast, large rooms look better with patterns that are medium to large in size.  Small prints can get lost in a large room; a small print often looks like a solid color from across the room in an area that is open and spacious.

Colors liven things up

It’s fine to have neutral colored walls and even furnishings, but color is what brings a room to life.  Consider bold splashes of color in throw pillows, rugs, wall hangings, vases, curtains and other accents so as to add interest and appeal to the room.

When using color, use those you love most but stick to three basic shades so that the look is coordinated and not confusing.

How to mix patterns and textures

If you think back a few years, it’s very likely that you never saw plaid patterns, stripes and floral designs mixed in the same room at your mother’s or grandmother’s house – it just wasn’t done!

Today, designers know that mixing stripes and floral patterns or plaids and solids makes for a look that is bold, elegant or even country chic, depending on what you are striving for.

It is perfect acceptable – and even encouraged – that you use stripes and checks or stripes and floral patterns together, as long as all of the pieces contain some of the same color.  For example, if your color scheme includes burgundy, blue and cream shades you would want all patterned items to contain a single one of these colors such as burgundy.  A burgundy and blue striped throw pillow will look divine when paired with a floral pillow that contains the same shade of burgundy.

Use a varied array of texture in the room; nubby rugs or accent pillows stand out even more against smooth or satiny surfaces.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit when it comes to patterns, color and texture.  By combining all of these elements, your rooms will make an impact that is not soon forgotten by all who enter your home.

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Mar 05 2012

Spruce Up Your Kitchen With 1940’s Vintage Appeal

Published by under Kitchens

Nothing is quite as inviting and comfortable as a 1940’s style retro kitchen.  The look is quite easy to achieve, and the blend of all things vintage and modern makes for an appearance that is original and appealing.  The warmth such a room exudes makes for a kitchen and dining area that is comfortable, relaxing, and beautiful; the perfect blend of modern and old-time charm.

Choosing the right colors is essential

The colors from the 1940’s style kitchen are what make it so recognizable today in magazines, books and other media.  Crimson red, white, yellow and “jadeite” or a gray-toned blue are the colors that were most often used in these homey kitchen of the past.

Be aware that not just any shade of blue will work with the 1940’s look; there are dozens of colors today that would be called “blue”, but what you are looking for here is a Slate or Midnight blue, a shade that is a bit more muted than some of the colors you will find today.

Furnishings for the retro kitchen

For the dining table, a vintage style dinette or wooden style table complete with enamel top are perfect.  Cabinetry may be wood that is painted white, off-white or cream; glass knobs add further to the retro appeal.

Other furnishings you may want to consider for the dining room are a square, an oval or rectangular retro diner table; many of these have chrome-plated deco legs, much like you find at many old-time diners even today.

If you cannot afford a vintage style dinette set, cover the table you currently have with a vintage table cloth.

Add color with accents and gadgets

Since the basic colors of 1940’s vintage style decorating revolve around white or off-white, count on accessories, rugs and other gadgets to add a splash of color.

Consider open cabinets, so that you can display old dishes or other colorful collectibles.  If you collect jadeite dishes, put them on display.

Red kitchenware gadgets are perfect for adding vibrant color.  Vintage linens add texture and color; consider a fruit theme if you need more color.  Place a fruit bowl in the center of the table, and consider metal wall hangings embellished with fruit designs.

The curtains you choose for the windows can have a further impact on the finished look of the kitchen.  If you cannot find vintage curtains, make them yourself using dish towels or even a table cloth that blends with the colors you have chosen.

Old-fashioned canisters, bread boxes, toasters – most of the old appliances which you need to bring the look together can be found at antique malls.  Check garage sales and flea markets as well – you never know when you will find a treasure that is perfect for your vintage kitchen!

While you may think that your appliances will clash because of their modern look, this actually makes the whole combination even more appealing.  If you have the budget and simply want to re-do the entire room including appliances, look for those that have a retro look or chrome finish.

In today’s modern and busy world, it’s often comforting to come home after a hard day to a home that takes you back in time.  Get started on your 1940’s vintage style kitchen today!

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