Tag Archive 'Decorating'

Jun 27 2012

The 3 Most Important Things About Decorating Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

With the influx of home decorating shows, DIY tips, and remodeling reveals it is easy to get overwhelmed with so much advice. Isn’t there anything simple these days? Well, for those of us who would like a quick education in the basics of design, there are 3 things that every person should know before trying their hand at redecorating or remolding.

There are so many things to learn about creating and decorating a home; follow these simple guidelines and the rest of the details should fall into place naturally. 

Basic #1: The Budget is always the Biggest Design “Do” 

This may not seem like a fun or unique detail, but when it comes to design the budget is always the first thing to consider. You can spend hours scouring the Internet or magazines for great design ideas but if you don’t know what your budget is, you may end up falling in love with Italian marble floors or top-of-the-line hardware, and find that your budget does not allow for such extravagance.

Set your budget first, and then look at which design elements fit into that number. The good news for you is that there are so many options from expensive to economical these days which will allow you to make a room look like a high end room on the cheap. Don’t fall victim to blowing out your budget on unnecessary items- choose a number, and stay within the number.

Basic # 2: De-cluttering is Like Discovering a New Home 

You may be surprised to discover that one of the top 3 basic design “dos” has less to do with bringing stuff in and more to do with taking stuff out. Too much clutter can hide a beautiful home. Unwanted collectibles, loose papers, disorganized hutches, and mismatched furniture can all add up to a messy and uncomfortable living space.

De-cluttering is the most powerful tool that any person has when decorating their home. So pull out the gloves, and dig in to take it out. This simple step can reveal that the most beautiful aspect of your home is the exact thing you are covering up.

Basic # 3: Color is Key 

It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do. One of the most inexpensive ways to decorate, painting a room the right shade, can really transform the space from blah to brilliant. Never underestimate the power of a carefully chosen color. When adding color, don’t forget to add texture too. Wallpapering is another chic option when adding an accent wall with some depth and interest to a room. Don’t go too crazy with bold patterns and colors, but a subtle grass cloth, cross hatch, or circle pattern can take a room from pretty to “pow”!

If you don’t know what color will look best in your space, it is always a good idea to consult a color specialist. Just as color is key to making a room look its best, the wrong shade can also make a room feel smaller, less inviting, or cold.

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Jun 05 2012

The Stages of Great Decorating: How Staggering your Changes can Bring About the Best Results

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

It is very exciting to see a room that you have been working on come together in those final stages of decoration. The colors pop, the furniture has been updated and positioned perfectly, the lighting highlights the right angles, and the accessories add that personalized finishing touch. However, the moment that a room comes together can be bittersweet for those that love to have projects. That is why “staggering” your decorating into stages may be the best, most cost efficient and fulfilling way to take your home from blasé to brilliant!

Stage 1: The Lovely Bones 

This stage is perhaps the most important of any design plan. Every room is different. Each will have its strengths, its purposes, and its weaknesses. Spend some time in the room with it sparsely decorated. Use it as a functional space before adding layers of design. This will enable you to see the room’s strengths and weakness for what they are.

After you are completely aware of your room’s “bones” then you can begin to evaluate if you need to rearrange the furniture, change the color of the room to brighten or add mood, or take out the bulky sectional for a cozier loveseat. All of these decisions cannot be made on appearance alone; a room is only as beautiful as it is functional.

Stage 2: Testing the Transitional Waters

This stage is the intermission between your dream room and your naked room. This is when you will begin to test out certain bold accents, colors, and an overall theme. For instance, if you are decorating a master bedroom this would be the time to bring in that gorgeous area rug you’ve been eyeing, or to install that over-the-top chandelier that may or may not overpower the room.

Play with color as well. Remember, color isn’t just paint. In fact in most rooms, paint should be the secondary accent to your primary swaths of color. Bring in a turquoise vase, or a crisp white lamp. Play with certain art pieces, or pick up an adorable throw on sale. Once you see all of these items together in your transitional stage you can then begin to weed out which colors are excessive, which patters flow and which purchases you should take back or put into storage for a different room.

Stage 3: Dare to Design 

This is the stage that you have been patiently waiting for. In this time you will have narrowed down the practical use of the space and have inserted furniture accordingly. You have also narrowed down your color palette and bold accessories to those that make the most impact without being busy. Now is the time to bring it all together with your most daring ideas.

When you get to this stage the room should still feel unfinished. This is when you wallpaper the room with that chic grass cloth you’ve been dying to use. It also means that you have free reign to complete any finishing touches that you’ve put on hold for the end. Bust out that bright purple vase and that silky cream curtain. This is the moment when you light the candles, turn on the sconces, and invite your neighbors over for a glass of wine!

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Jun 04 2012

Color Code and Pattern Personality: How to Decipher Your’s for the Best Choices in Décor

In design, it is amazing how the little things can make all of the difference. From a simple throw pillow to a thoughtful art piece, it is the accents in a room that can really highlight your beautiful furniture or lofty ceilings. If you don’t understand how to use accessories to your advantage you will be missing out on an inexpensive way to take a room from plain to full of pizzazz. While color and pattern are the two main ingredients required to give any room personality, it takes a little know-how in order to really make a statement as well as blend everything effortlessly and purposefully.

Choosing Patterns 

This is a little bit trickier than choosing color. A pattern has the ability of telling the story of your room, where color has the ability of setting the scene. A fleur-delis pattern tells the viewer that you enjoy a classy and refined lifestyle, but if you bring it together with a pop of hot pink, it also takes your room to a fun and hip place, where your friends won’t be afraid to bring their kids or ask for hot cocoa instead of Chardonnay.

Most people have no idea how powerful patterns can be, nor that they have the ability to speak volumes about your personality. Do you love checkered patterns, country landscapes, shabby chic floral, or pinstripes? Perhaps you are drawn to the wacky and outlandish lines of a mid-century modern wingback chair, or you like the streamlined look of a simple linen drape. These little accents are the finishing touches on your room, as well as a declaration of your style.

Choosing Color 

After you have decided which patterns you are attracted to, then do a quick diagnostic of your color code. This may change depending on the room. In some rooms we like a moody, low-light color scheme for example in the bedroom, but a burst of bright orange in the living room can provide a lot of energy. These color codes can go together as long as you pay attention to hue. The color spectrum is an amazing thing. The right shade or the addition of yellow, green, white, or red to any color on the color wheel and you turn a pink into a purple or a green into a blue.

That is why it is very important to choose colors that blend together. Not all blues go well together. A bright blue that is like a robin’s egg will not blend well with a blue that has greenish undertones. The best way to decipher undertones is to ask your local paint store for a paint book. Choose colors that are close to each other. If you like a bright yellow in the front of the book and want to match it to the nearest taupe, don’t pull a color from the back and instead choose the brown paint swatch nearest to your original selection.

To-do: Flip Through Fabric Books

The next time that you are at a fabric store, flip through their fabric books. Every time your eye is drawn to a certain pattern (pay no attention to color) ask for a swatch of that pattern. Once you have collected 3 or 4 of your favorite patterns, then move on to color and do the same thing. This is a quick self-study in deciding what your pattern personality is.

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Jun 01 2012

Accessories 101: How Choosing the Right Accents Can Change a Room Entirely

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

One of the most common mistakes that people make when decorating their home is over-accessorizing. For some of us, a hobby or collection can overwhelm a space and can leave it looking more like a museum or an antique store than a living room. While, it is perfectly fine to collect certain items, it takes some real design clout to understand the necessity of the right accents.

First let’s define what an accessory is and what is a collectible. An accessory is chosen to add flair to an unfinished room. A collectible is a personal item that isn’t purchased to add to a room per se, but rather to add to an already established collection. If you truly want to showcase your collection in a main living area it is best to choose one or two of your favorite pieces and use them as inspirational pieces to further accessorize the room.

How to Showcase Your Collectibles Tastefully 

For example, if you collect salt and pepper shakers, choose a few of them (1-3) that have the most personal meaning, are most valuable, or most interesting. If you can’t narrow it down to just a few, then try to rotate through your collection by highlighting a certain set every month of the year. Investing in a few inexpensive floating shelves is a wonderful design-friendly way of highlighting your collectibles without taking over the entire room.

This also makes for a wonderful conversation piece. Whenever you have guests, they will be able to see a new installment of your collection throughout the year. Once you have streamlined your collection, then it is time to choose accessories that will bring class and interest to your collectible wall while adding some outside-of-the-box aesthetic.

How to Accessorize Successfully 

Whether you want to highlight the gorgeous new hutch you’ve purchased, your hand whittled coffee table or your collection of tea cups, choose accessories that will bring the room together instead of drawing attention away from your desired pieces. This can be done very subtly.

Let’s revisit the example of a salt and peppershaker collection. If you are hoping to highlight your collectible wall of shakers, then choose accessories that relate to your collection but aren’t entirely the same. Pick up a vintage photo of a spoon and fork, or a rich oil painting of a cornfield or vegetable garden. These very indirect connections to your salt and pepper collection connect the room on three different design levels: color, theme, and tone.

Design Tip: Accessories should never be bought simply because they look good solo. In fact, accessories should be bought to blend into the room and not create a distraction. If you constantly find that your eye is being drawn to an overly bright and patterned throw pillow, or a busy art piece, then consider toning down the accessories to highlight the real star of the room, whatever you decide that may be.

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May 30 2012

The Top 3 Secrets You Should Know When Decorating a Room

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

You know how it feels when you walk into a well-decorated room? Everything flows well; the colors evoke a mood, and you leave feeling inspired to do the same thing in your home. However, when you get home you have no idea where to begin and can become frustrated trying to create the dream room of your own.

The truth is that well designed rooms don’t happen by accident- they are always well thought out. We asked a top designer what her 3 favorite tricks are when creating a room that others will envy.

1. Pick an Inspiration Piece

This can be something as large as your favorite piece of furniture or a fireplace or even something as small as your favorite book on your mantle. Choose something that you love and use that piece to inspire you for paint colors, accent pieces and overall design aesthetics. Without a direction or a focal point, your vision can easily get muddled. Remember, just because you love the color blue doesn’t mean that you would love an entire room decorated in blue.

You need subtleties to create a feeling of “blue”, which usually involves some bold blue accents but softer paint colors, flooring and lighting. Don’t be afraid of to make use of the power of subtlety when designing a room- if you want “pop” all you need is a piece of art or a throw pillow to accomplish that.

Know your space

Far too often, people fall in love with a piece of furniture that can make a bold statement, but if don’t understand the dimensions of their room, easily making a misstep and purchasing something that won’t fit in the space well.  Instead of providing inspiration they overwhelm the room. Take measurements of your room and bring a rough sketch with you to the furniture store on the day of purchase.

Allow a professional to tell you which pieces will fit well, and which ones will overwhelm. This can keep you from buying furniture that you don’t need and that won’t go with your overall vision for the space.

Personalize it 

Any designer knows that the number one urge any homeowner has when decorating their space, is that they want to feel like it is theirs. Creating a unique atmosphere which reflects your style and personality can be accomplished through decorating alone, but it never hurts to add a personalized stamp to the room. This may mean creating a wall of personal photos- a gallery can make any room seem tailored to you.

If you have an artistic streak, why not try your hand at creating an art piece in the color and style of the room. This can be a wonderful conversation piece as well as a way to take a well-decorated room from just chic to distinctly you. Also, don’t be afraid to re-claim pieces from second hand shops or consignment stores. Buying a lamp which you then stencil with your favorite pattern in the right shade or discovering an old chair that you can recover, are all inexpensive ways to put that personal touch on the space.

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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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Jul 22 2011

Step by Step Guide to Decorating On a Budget

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Today, nearly everyone is on a tight budget.  The economy is the worst it’s been in years, and buying all new decorating items for your home just isn’t possible.  Sure, you can go for one of those “buy now, pay later” deals, but what will that do to your already tight budget once the credit card charges start rolling in?  Probably not a smart move.

Here are a few tips for decorating on a budget.

Recognize your own decorating style before you do anything else.  If you do not know what your personal decorating style is, chances are that the things you do decide to spend money on will not work together or may be too trendy, going out of style as fast as it came in.

Determine your style, and spend those precious few dollars you do spend on decorating items that will stand the test of time.

Be innovative with those things you already have

Sometimes you can go shopping without leaving home!  Look in the storage shed, attic or basement; there are often old mirrors, tables or furniture that you may have forgotten about.

Also, be a bit creative and try items that are normally used in one room in another room of your home.  For example, if you have a china cabinet that really serves no purpose in your dining room, move it to a girl’s room and display dolls or other collectibles.

Give your existing furniture new life

Many people choose to re-purpose and recreate the furniture they already have.  Strip the finish and give something a new coat of paint.  Take it down to the bare wood and give it a rich luster with stain.  Stencil it for a worn cottage chic look – use your imagination!

You can also find slipcovers that are fitted, so give your sofa and love seat a new look.

Remember that window treatments can break the bank

Many window treatments are extremely expensive, and before you know it you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the windows.

Look around; some of your windows may be facing in a direction that doesn’t need any cover at all.  Let the natural light come through!

Other windows may need only a blind or shade.  If you want to dress your windows up a bit, learn how to make valences yourself, or use sheets to create floor-length curtains that casually drape in a swag effect on the rod.

Good old paint is always a solution, and can change the look of the room more than anything else you do.  Paint the walls a warm shade and trim it out in white, or paint the walls a light shade and add baseboards and door facings trimmed out in bold, deep colors.

As you can see, there are endless things you can do to give your home a fresh new look without spending much money.  Get creative, be innovative.  By using your imagination, you will find that your home will look totally different with very little effort.

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Jul 20 2011

Secrets for Giving Your Home a Professionally Decorated Look

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

You see the pictures in magazines and online; homes decorated in a look that is oh-so perfect and polished.  No regular person could achieve this look, right? Wrong.  If your rooms seem to be missing something or are a little on the “blah” side, these tips from the pros will help you give your home a whole new look.  Your friends will think you hired a professional designer to come in and re-vamp your residence!

This isn’t complicated, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.  It’s the simple ideas that we overlook most often.

Never use decorative items simply to “fill up space”

So many people do this.  There is a blank space on the wall that just needs a little something, so you hang a picture or other piece of wall decor.  Never fill a space with anything that fits.  What you choose to hang in that bare spot should be really special or meaningful to you and reflect your personality.  It is better to leave the space empty until you come across something that really strikes you than to fill it with any old thing.  Remember this rule:  If it doesn’t add, it takes away.

Grouped items should follow a theme

Wall groupings, objects placed together on a shelf, table or mantle – these items should always relate to each other or follow a theme.  What you do not want is a hodge-podge look that appears as if you just threw in a little of everything.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that every piece must be a horse or flower.  You might display a horse, lasso and miniature cowboy boots, or you might choose items that all follow the same color scheme.  A lamp crafted of brass, sitting alongside a family picture framed in brass and brass coasters create an elegant touch.

The point is, all items in any type of grouping should follow a theme of subject, color or texture.  All items in a grouping could share a color, such as red or pumpkin, or share a texture such as smooth, shiny or brushed.  Remember this tip when grouping items together in your home, and you cannot go wrong.

Clear out the clutter

Nothing looks worse than a home filled with clutter.  Sure, we all love our little whatnots and knick-knacks, but too many simply collect dust and look messy.  Your focus is to make your home appear beautifully decorating and pulled together, so clutter must go.

If your living room tables and the mantle above the fireplace are filled with small accents, eliminate until you are down to just a few.  In the kitchen, take everything off of the counter top which you do not use on a regular basis.

Are your walls covered with family photos?  Some people hang dozens of smaller pictures on a single wall.  While this holds emotional value, it gives your home a messy, disorganized look.  Split the pictures up and hang groupings of 3 in various places in your home.

These tips will help you create a home that is beautiful, organized and comfortable.  Use these tips from the pros, and everyone will envy your style savvy!

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Jul 17 2011

How to Mix Patterns for a Stylish, Beautiful Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Decades ago, a majority of homeowners wouldn’t dream of mixing patterns.  A living room would be decorated with floral patterns, stripes, plaids, geometric or abstract patterns, but they were never mixed.  Today, mixing patterns is all the rage – but you have to know how to do it correctly to achieve an appealing look.  Mixing patterns adds depth and interest to any room, and gives it a unique style that is rich and beautiful.

One basic color plus white equals eye-catching

You can easily accomplish a beautiful look for any room by using white and a single color, such as blue.  Paint the walls bold blue, add white furnishings and wall hangings with various patterns.  An upholstered white chair embellished with bold blue flowers is striking with striped white and blue curtains on a nearby window.

Throw in an ottoman with geometric blue and white design; add some wall art and you have a spectacular room!

Bold, vibrant color plus various size patterns is striking

If you enjoy a bright, cheerful room these ideas are great for the kitchen.  Mix up shades of bold, dark yellow with orange, deep red and pumpkin shades.  A large hanging for one wall filled with big, bold flowers creates a focal point for the room.

Add further interest with a small-scaled pattern, such as a striped or checked runner for the table.  A bright yellow table and chairs gives the room a lift; add a splash of white here and there with smaller accessories such as a vase filled with white daisies or ceramic whatnots.

Coordinate colors for a look that is soft and pleasing to the eye

In the bedroom, think of colors that are directly across from one another on the color wheel, such as red and green.  Then go a bit further and think of colors with a common hue.  For example, pink is a lighter shade of red, yellow shares a hue with green.  Mix patterns and solids in shades of yellow, pink, green and red for a look that is colorful yet soft.

An easy way to mix patterns in the bedroom is with bedding and throw pillows.  A round, oblong sage green pillow, sold bright pink pillow, square plaid combining all of these colors and a flat round pillow decorated with a huge pink and green flower create a look that is interesting and attractive.

For a pulled-together look that is attention-grabbing, mix patterns of small, medium and large sizes which help to maintain balance.

If you remember to coordinate colors and throw in a good mix of solid colors through walls, floors and furnishings, you can mix and match any patterns you like to create rooms that are far beyond ordinary.

The most beautiful rooms are often those in which you let your imagination run wild.  Be creative, and try out those ideas that are floating around in your head.  You just might find that it’s easier than you think to design rooms that are full of texture and interesting patterns!

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May 24 2011

No Flair for Decorating? Tips to Help You Create a Beautiful Home, Even If You Have No Imagination

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Decorating a new home (or even an old one) is an intimidating task for many people.  Some people simply cannot come up with fresh new ideas; they feel they lack the creativity and imagination to design an appealing room.  The tips in this article will help you give any room a fresh new look with very little effort – and don’t worry, it’s easy!

The first thing you need to realize when decorating your home is that it is YOUR home, so use those accents, furnishings and other elements that you truly love.  This is where you will spend your life with your family, so it should be comfortable and relaxing to you first and foremost.

Choosing and using color

Color is a basic element of decorating; everything in the room hinges on your chosen colors.  From the walls and flooring to throws, furniture and accents, colors should complement or contrast.

Warm colors offer a relaxed, welcoming appeal.  Burnt orange, soft yellow and blue, brown shades, rich reds, forest green and sienna are warm shades that will give your home a welcoming glow.

Cool shades are a bit more electric or energetic; when thinking of cool colors, think pink, royal blue, purple, and silver.  Of course you don’t have to use bold, loud colors; simply choose pale shades of these colors for a more relaxing atmosphere.

Neutral colors work with nearly any other color, which is why they are so popular.  Cream or wheat colored walls are the perfect backdrop for all of your other colors and accents.

Choosing patterns for texture and interest

Using patterns and textures in rugs, throw pillows and even wall hangings is essential to adding interest to the room.  Decades ago, it was a definite fashion no-no to combine stripes, plaids and florals; today, it’s all the rage!  As long as the colors complement each other, anything goes.

Imagine a sofa covered in a solid material that is gold in color while the throw pillows are floral in shades of burgundy, forest green and blue.  Chairs are striped with shades of gold, burgundy and green – the look is fabulous!  Never be afraid to mix and match patterns, as it adds great depth and appeal.

Choose furniture that suits your style preference

Keep in mind these rules about furniture when designing your home.  If you prefer a modern, sleek decor theme, choose furnishings that are sleek with straight, clean lines.  This type of furniture is usually built on a smaller scale, and never bulky or big.

Like a chic, trendy look?  Country cottage and shabby chic incorporate furnishings that are worn looking; old wood, wicker and floral fabrics are perfect for this decorating theme.  A white-washed wood or wicker with floral patterned cushions creates the look!

Country or western decor is where you often find bulky or over-stuffed furniture.  Leather or wood, these furnishings are built to look rustic or rough, with a country appeal.  Lots of natural wood finishes such as pine or oak appear in this decorating theme.

There you have it; some great tips for decorating your home, even if you don’t know the first thing about decor.  Think of color, patterns and furniture – once you have these things figured out, everything else is a breeze!

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