Unless you have kids, generally speaking, a small laundry room isn’t an issue for you. But for those families who do have children, perhaps even multiple children, the rush to keep the laundry going on a daily basis is real. The terror that grips us all when we’ve been away and realize that there are 6 loads of laundry to be done before school the next morning is real. The frustration with the child who changes clothes three times a day…don’t even get me started.
Are you looking for a truly unique design idea? Think that you’ve seen them all? Not so fast. Designers are getting more and more clever every day. You are probably used to seeing river rocks used in the front entry or even the garden, but how about the bathroom?
Did you move into a home where the previous owner made it completely devoid of character? Restore your home to its original glory by returning its intricate wainscoting and crown molding. Many flippers came in during the recession and bought distraught properties. The homes that they bought were dilapidated. They ripped up carpet, threw down some laminate, re-painted and called it good.
Lighting a dining room can be extremely challenging. One of the biggest challenges can be making sure that the light fixture works with the rest of the décor. Lately, exposed beams started trending in the interior design industry. It can be hard to find ceiling lights that accentuate the rustic nature of the exposed beams while still making sure that the eating area is appropriately illuminated.
When you are trying to set the mood, what type of lighting do you prefer? Candles or LED lights? The traditionalist in me says that it has to be the candle. Gazing into your partner’s eyes across the table; the wax slowly pooling at the wick, and then slowly snails its way down the candle. We’ve all seen the movies and read the books; there isn’t anything more romantic.
Of course, all of that dripping wax is a fire hazard. And don’t believe anyone who tells you that it’s easy to get off once it dries…it isn’t. Plus, don’t they make wax candles out of whale blubber? How, as a modern man, can I expect to woo someone while Shamu is slowly melting in front of me. The thought of killing a poor whale just to make a candle is a non-starter for me. For these, and many other reasons, I’m no longer using candles.
If you’re like most people, you don’t know exactly what to do with your outdoor space. Everyone has flowers and plants, but the question becomes how to make it special – how to really make it sing. We’ve always imagined eating outside in at an Italian café and now, with a few improvements, you can feel you do!
Not everyone has a pergola in their backyard. The good news is that they are relatively easy to build and they don’t necessarily need to be all that big. The purpose of a pergola is to add a little bit of shade and class to an outside environment. They work best – and look absolutely beautiful – when there are climbing vines laced along the top, providing a welcome respite from the sun. I like to use the clematis, wisteria or in wine regions throughout the world, people often use grape vines.
Next I stage my outdoor setting with wrought iron table and chairs. To me these are all about old world feel; I can envision sipping cappuccino reading a book by the Arno. If you are feeling extra perky, you can get cushions for the chairs to match the blooming vines. I also will often have planter boxes on the side of the house – if appropriate – and grow various herbs. The planters are at different heights and are at different lengths to provide variation for the eye.
The last key element for setting your own Italian café are the lights. I use string lights with LED bulbs. I like the way they swing down and can appear like stars against the sky. At dusk, the LED lights create a sense of romance; paired with a homemade meal and a great glass of vino, it is easy to feel like a star-crossed lover right out of Venice.
It’s August so those of us in the design industry are furiously trying to figure out what’s going to be hot in 2017. Still, it’s 2016 and so there is some merit in looking at what’s happening presently. In keeping with what often feels like darker times, the latest trends have kitchens getting a little bit darker. The colors are often called “moody” tones.
These are more atonal colors like gray-blues and deep forest greens. The walls are coupled with dark wood or laminate finishes to create a warm and comfortable environment. They are contrasted with light granite or marble countertops. There are two other trends that home designers are noticing as we begin to leave 2016: the death of shiplap and black stainless steel.
Shiplap, which jumped to prominence because of the Fixer Upper, is quickly losing it’s appeal. There have been quite a few blog articles over the past few months who have discussed over saturation in the market. Couple that with it being found outside it’s native environment (really, the south) and it’s a recipe ripe for a comeuppance.
On the other hand, it appears that
the good old days of stainless steel are also numbered. A number of the leading
home design blogs have noted the rise in black stainless steel. This makes
perfect sense as kitchen colors become darker.
Lighting still plays an important part of any kitchen makeover. LED lights are a
significant improvement over the old fluorescents. With the sudden
proliferation of islands, there is renewed need for ceiling lights. Thankfully
the old white canisters that served as track lighting are gone. Now there are
some sleek designs that can be used with LED lights to softly illuminate your
prep and/or eating area.
You and your spouse work a combined 100 hours a week – that doesn’t even include time driving the kids to-and-from school, soccer and swimming practices, karate – getting home before 7pm is a stretch let figuring out dinner and then dishes and then bed time.
In short: you’re a wreck and so is your home. But not to worry (about your home, anyway), some semblance of organization can be achieved with a minimal amount of effort. I always like to start with my closet because it’s my least favorite thing to do.
Step 1: Make sure that there is adequate lighting. You don’t necessarily need fancy lighting for a closet, but you do need something. You can find cheap LED lights that stick onto the wall at most stores like Target or the Dollar Store.
Step 2: Get a garbage bag and purge your clothes. If you haven’t worn your summer dress in two summers, it’s time to get rid of it, don’t ya think? Tastes change and there’s no reason to keep clothing that you don’t like with the intention of liking them again some day. For those who live in mild climates, anything you haven’t worn in a year should probably go.
Step 3: This is the final step in creating order out of chaos:
everything has a place. I realize that not everyone hangs up their pants and
some people tuck their dresses away, so in this instance, whatever works best
for how you do things. I’ve found that it’s really good to have baskets on the
shelf above what we hang. They’re great for sweaters, swim suits, hats and much
more. I like to label these baskets so I know that I’m putting them away in the
right place so that down the line, when I’m tired and don’t want to think about
putting something away, I know right where to put it.
Lastly I have a couple rows of cubbies just for our shoes.
You can always start off by adding more lighting…absent putting in sky lights or floor-to-ceiling windows here are a couple of tips that you can use to help.
Painting is another way to considerably lighten up your living space. There are a few different ways to make this happen. You can paint whole walls light and bright – preferably in pastels. Blending patterned fabric with the wall color will help considerably. You can also try what I call: the IKEA – white walls, sleekly designed furniture with darker accent colors on the trim or doors. This last one can be hard to pull off, but if you hit it right, it’s a fantastic modern design.
If you have the time, and the money, you can always decide to knock out a wall or two. Increasing the size of the living area is an easy answer to letting in more light. While each of these are good options on their own, they may prove to be even better working in conjunction with each other.
Paintings or prints can help to accentuate any living area, especially the living room. If you are going to use paintings, prints or pictures, traditional lighting might not always be the best way to go; especially for original paints. Depending on the type of paint used, it will react with the light differently. Similarly, if there are a number of different paintings in the living room, you will want to make sure that you light each painting individually.
There are two different lighting methods: recessed or ceiling lights or a mount directly over the painting (picture lights). It’s really your personal preference because there isn’t a distinct advantage to having one type of lighting over another. Either way, make sure to use LED lights.
Picture lights are usually used with a low wattage LED light which lends itself to intimacy because it is so close to the painting. Also, because they are attached to the painting, the picture lights become part of the décor of the room so be sure to choose carefully. The one major draw back to picture lights is that they are generally plug in, so you are limited to where you can place your art.