Home office options: Choosing the right desk chair

The home office was once a “nice-to-have” feature – today, it’s almost a requirement. As work schedules have evolved to include flextime and work-from-home benefits, it’s necessary to have a place where you can close the door, focus and get the job done. But having the space isn’t the only key – a functional office set-up is equally essential. One of the key elements of that is a office chair.

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Zuo Modern Contemporary Unico White Office Chair

Here are some important considerations that any home office worker should make when picking out this all-important décor element.

  • What’s your floor like? You’ll need to base your shopping search on whether you have wall-to-wall carpeting, StationaryChairhardwood or a rug that lies under your desk. Wheeled chairs are best for hard surfaces, rugs with short, very tight pile, or flat-woven carpets like kilims or sisal mats. Wheels and plush, long carpet are a headache waiting to happen; if that’s what you have, choose a stationary chair.
  • Assess your need for ergonomics. If you find yourself getting sore and stiff after the workday, you should consider a chair that provides ergonomic support. Ergonomic office chairs are also a nice option for families that share the office among multiple people – they can be more easily adjusted to different heights.
  • Create an attractive place to work. Carefully designed spaces can provide more harmonious visuals, with less clutter and fewer distractions. That translates to a more productive work environment. Think of your home office design as equally important to your living spaces. That thoughtfulness can pay off, too, if you ever decide to sell your home – prospective homebuyers will be wowed.

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A Spotlight on Energy Efficiency in the Bathroom

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Access Lighting Vail Brushed Steel One-Light Medium Wall and Vanity Light

Bathroom lighting can be tricky. We spend a rather significant amount of time in this often-forgotten part of the house, and yet its design doesn’t possess the elegant grandeur or thoughtful comfort of the dining or living rooms. Bathroom lighting needs to be bright enough to catch blemishes, flattering enough that it won’t prevent you from leaving the house, and soft enough to evoke relaxation during bath time. Plus, fixtures have to be approved for damp environments. You may never use the den or grand dining room, but a day doesn’t go by when you don’t use the bathroom (if all goes well). We turn those lights on and off multiple times a day – why not also make them energy efficient?

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It’s thrilling how far energy efficient lighting has come in terms of design aesthetic and light quality. Most energy efficient lighting uses either LED lights or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) instead of the old familiar incandescent bulb. The difference in energy use of these newer developments from the classic light bulb is remarkable.

Take LEDs. “Light emitting diodes” started out as tiny single bulbs used for electronics, but, due to their efficiency and flexibility, creative designers have been grouping these bulbs together in new and interesting ways, creating warm, radiant – and efficient – lighting fixtures. A beautiful example is Nuvo’s Raindrop. Combining polished nickel and Lucite, the fNuvoLightingRaindropixture has slightly retro styling with very contemporary electronics. Raindrop uses three 4-watt LED modules. Wattage is often mistakenly equated with light output, but, actually, watts refer to the quantity of energy used to illuminate the bulb. Instead of wattage, LEDs are measured in “lumens,” which refers instead to the amount of light emitted. The Raindrop uses about 12 watts, but gives off about 870 lumens. You’d need 60 watts of incandescent light to give off the same brightness. Go with LEDs and you’re using less than a quarter the amount of energy! Not only that, but they last longer – an average LED bulb will be going strong for 50,000 hours – compare that with an incandescent’s quick little life span of 1,200. A fixture like the Raindrop or Access Lighting’s sleek and minimal 31003LEDD will not only save you money on your energy bill, it’ll save you time changing light bulbs.

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PhotoCredit: Pegasus Lighting Blog

Even if you’re satisfied with your current bathroom fixture, it’s easy to snag a little more efficiency simply by switching out the old incandescent for a CFL bulb. Placed somewhere between LEDs and incandescents in terms of efficiency, you can generally get about 8,000 hours of use per compact fluorescent (compared with 50,000 for LEDs and 1,200 for an incandescent). Their old reputation for harsh bright light no longer stands (we’d never recommend that for the bathroom!). CFLs measure brightness in Kelvins – choose a CFL that offers 2700-300K and you’ll find the same warmth of a traditional incandescent, but use about a quarter of the wattage.

So take some time to give your bathroom a little love – and save some money and the environment by switching to energy efficient lighting options.

Décor in seconds: Peel and stick decals change the mood of a room in no time

Patience is a virtue, but who hasn’t had a moment when they’ve looked at a room and thought “I want this to change … now!” That impulse can lead to some projects that are better in theory than in practice, and leave you mired in a ton of work. But, next time you feel hurried and harried to makeover a space, consider how decals can change the character of a room – and let you do it over and over again with minimal effort.

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Parents in particular know that kids’ tastes change and evolve, sometimes in the blink of an eye. Decals are ideal for kids’ rooms because they allow you to adapt their décor on a whim. You can choose options that coordinate with your nursery theme, and as your child grows from baby to toddler to a kid with opinions of his own, all you need to do is peel off the old and stick on the new. There are even options to add your kids’ favorite characters to the room, from Dora to The Avengers.

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For parents whose kids have left home for college, there’s always the question of what to do with that now-unoccupied bedroom. If you want to convert it to a tranquil guest space, taking down old décor and adding peel-and-stick decals can change the mood of the space without ever having to open a can of paint.

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If your home has lots of blank wall space and you’re not sure how to enhance it, there are a number of decal options that can be used to add character. There’s plenty of sophisticated imagery, from botanicals to geometrics; you could also use letters for a custom treatment that speaks to your personality. Spell out your family name, your favorite places you’ve traveled or words that you find inspirational and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind décor element.

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Meet Humphrey: Fresh design in a classic shape

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Recently featured in the July/August issue of Elle Décor magazine, Hudson Valley Lighting’s Humphrey collection brings an air of warmth and distinction to any interior. For nearly 30 years, under the vision and guidance of its founder, David Littman, Hudson Valley Lighting has been using high-grade materials and superior manufacturing techniques like heavy casting and hand-rubbed finishes to produce exquisitely crafted, heirloom-quality pieces. As their name implies, the design studio is headquartered in New York’s beautiful Hudson River Valley, where they find endless sources of creative inspiration – from the glamour of nearby Manhattan to the architectural legacy of Colonial settlers, from the industrial grit of the 1800s riverside factories to the beauty of the unspoiled wilderness at their doorstep. With Hudson Valley, David Littman is continuing a family tradition started in the 1940s by his grandfather’s forays into commercial fluorescent lighting.

Humphrey Ad

With pieces like their Humphrey lighting fixtures, Hudson Valley falls squarely in the residential realm. Landing stylistically somewhere between traditional and modern design, Humphrey is a transitional piece that works exceeding well with a wide variety of interior design styles in the dining room, bedroom, front hall or even a game room. Available in a choice of metal finishes, including aged brass, old bronze and polished nickel, Humphrey is distinguished by its unique and distinctively shaped shade. Made from a soft off-white fabric that provides warm, diffused light, the shade has an intricate, yet fresh, shape that is decorative with being too fussy or complicated. Combining the warmth of traditional decorative lighting fixtures with the clean feel of a modern and minimal silhouette, Humphrey is also available in a number of other shapes and sizes to suit your needs, including a double-shade version and a ceiling hugging style. Humphrey – and many other remarkable Hudson Valley Lighting fixtures – are available to order at bellacor.com.

Entertainment storage for dorms and living rooms

Multipurpose rooms such as a college dorms or home living rooms require media storage that organizes with style. Find the perfect solution to your storage needs and give order to a room in disarray.

College dorm rooms

WallMountedCDRackIf you’re a college freshman, dorm room is the space where you will watch movies, study for tests, hang out with friends and try to get a good night’s sleep. For a room that serves so many purposes, it can often be frustrating when there is so little space.

Entertainment storage is one way to keep your room from being cluttered and you from feeling overwhelmed. Try using a  wall mounted DVD or CD rack to keep your movies and music accessible or save space and purchase a TV stand that can also house your DVD player and video game console. The right amount of furniture can give your room personality without making the space seem overcrowded.

Living room

ConaxComponentBenchEvery piece of furniture in your living room needs to match the overall décor. Luckily, it is easy to find furniture that is both trendy and functional. Show off your organizational and design skills with stylish storage pieces. The Sonax Component bench looks great and can house multiple entertainment devices. An ottoman can be more than a comfortable foot rest. Select a storage ottoman that has room for game controllers, magazines or any items that need a designated home. If you Storage Ottomanwant an area to put pictures or plants, how about a media cabinet that also hides your movies, CDs, and books? With a little storage help, you can transform a crowded living room into a chic gathering space.

How décor can help make the first year of college successful

College is filled with new experiences. As a first year student, you will meet new friends, take on new responsibilities and move into a new space. It’s an exciting time, but it can also be an overwhelming time. A stress-free living environment will help other tasks seem more manageable. Dorm rooms often have limited space and can become cramped from too much clutter. Give your room personality and structure with the necessary items to make your first year a success.

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Dorm Room Before
Photo Credit: Laurey W. Glenn from My Home Ideas

Storage

Keep your dorm room neat and organized using a variety of storage solutions. With shower totes, freestanding or hanging organizers and drying hampers, you can make sure all of your personal belongings have a designated space, which will cut down on distracting clutter.

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Alarm Clock

Start college off on the right foot with an alarm clock that will also keep you from oversleeping. Late nights come with the territory, whether you are cramming for a test or hanging out with friends.  With a reliable alarm clock, you can rest assured that you won’t miss your 8 a.m. class the next morning.

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Likely, you will be occupying much of your time studying in your room. There will be late nights, and cramming for exams. If you don’t have the proper lighting, you will likely get headaches, and eye fatigue. Start the year strong with a light for your bed and for your desk that will give optimum illumination to your study and social efforts.

Task Chair

Sitting. It has to be comfortable in order for your mind to fully be focused on the study topic at hand. Get a chair with ample lumbar support and style that will make you want to stay in it for hours.

Seating

Every dorm room needs sitting furniture for watching TV or relaxing after class. Try the Loft wool loveseat. It is much more comfortable than a hard futon and will make watching movies more bearable.

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Bedding

The right bedding will make you feel more at home and help you get a good night’s sleep so you’re prepared to pay attention in class. Select a comforter that is cozy, but also matches your personality.

Rugs

Many dorm rooms are a cold, hard floor – not the most optimum arrangement for a good study environment. Consider utilizing a large rug or several area rugs to provide a nice landing for your feet and an extra place to sprawl.

When you first step into your door room, it will likely be basic and plain. But with preparation, you can personalize it, organize it, and make it fully functional…the beginning to a fun and successful school year!

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Dorm Room After
Photo Credit: Laurey W. Glenn from My Home Ideas

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY — BELLACOR’S DONATION TO HELP FAMILIES LIVE BETTER

Giving back to the local community helps others to live a better life.

DonationPic3Bellacor is especially proud of its community involvement programs.  In collaboration with the local non-profit charity organization Bridging, Bellacor has played a critical role in helping improve the lives of many by providing furniture and household goods to families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. Bellacor also has partnered with the local chapter of Restore, part of Habitat for Humanities to build and repair houses using donations.  The houses are then allowed to be purchased through no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans.

DonationPic1Tim Preiner, Warehouse Supervisor of Bellacor, is preparing the next shipment of Bellacor’s donations to Bridging and Restore. This shipment will include chairs, lamps, chandeliers, cabinet hardware, construction material, and other household goods.  “We donate furniture and construction materials which cannot be resold but are still in very good condition,” Preiner said.  As an example, with a set of two new chairs, one of the chairs is broken. “Since we cannot resell the whole set, we just donate the chair that is still in perfect condition.” Bellacor also donates old stock items and products from vendors who discontinued their partnerships with Bellacor.

Bellacor has shipped its generous product donations to Bridging and Restore every month this year.  Over 290 products have been shipped with a total value of more than $32,000. In May, Bellacor made the largest donation of the year so far sending Donation 8Bridging and Restore 67 products valued approximate $10,000. The average value of each product in the donation was $143 for Bridging and $86.35 for Restore. Nothing pleases Bellacor more than knowing that its contributions are helping support people struggling for a better life.

It is Bellacor’s mission with it’s non-profit affiliations to create opportunities so that underprivileged members of the community can have a better life. We consider it our social responsibility to make a positive impact in the community in which we work, live, and serve.

Bellacor has been the leading online retailer of lighting and home décor products since Donation 72000 and is a leading source for lighting and home furnishings on the web. The Bellacor collection includes 500,000+ items from 800+ trusted brands. Bellacor offers free shipping on orders over $75, price-matching (some exceptions apply) and exceptional customer service.  Bellacor is an Internet Retailer Top 500 Company.

Desktop décor: Elevate your workspace style

Ditch the yellow legal pads, toss the clunky plastic accessories – there’s a style revolution coming to a desk near you. Work will always be work, but doing the tasks you need to do can be more enjoyable – and more productive – if you have an inspiring place to get it all done. With a few simple décor changes, you can elevate a basic desk to a workspace that wows.

Follow these desk décor tips to get started:

* Light it up. Lighting is incredibly important to your ability to work well. Too little light causes eyestrain and fatigue, neither of which is good for you or your productivity. One of the must-haves for any workspace is a desk lamp. Opt for a stylish version, like Koncept’s Z-Bar Mini lamp, which bends and moves to let you get just the right angle. It’s sleek style and availability in a rainbow of colors landed it on Oprah’s most recent “O List” in O Magazine.

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* Color coordinate. Most desks eventually become a collection of mismatched bits and pieces – a brown pencil cup here, a red stapler there, a purple plant pot over yonder. It all adds up to visual mush – not exactly inspiring or motivating. Choose one or two colors that you really love and make them the exclusive colors for your desk (aside from neutrals like silver computers or black phones). Organization stores sell desk accessories in just about any color you can imagine; select something you find energizing (and match it to your lamp).

office* Add a touch of nature. Even if you don’t have the greenest thumb in the world, a plant on your desk can do you good. Some beautiful foliage adds a bit of extra style while also giving you a soothing visual – and a little bonus air purification. Look for plants that will thrive with limited natural light and don’t need too much attention.

“Industrial Chic” Design Trend

By Brian Lintner for Bellacor.com

One of the latest trends in interior design is the shift towards a transitional “Industrial Chic” look. With the “Industrial Chic” trend, iconic modern silhouettes are juxtaposed with the dry, scraped and weathered finishes popularized by the “La Maison” traditional trend, producing what could be called “Shabby Modern”.  Finding its roots in the “La Maison” trend, which uses traditional elements in weathered finishes and incorporates pieces of exaggerated scale, “Industrial Chic” incorporates many of the same finishes as those seen in the French inspired design, which is a long-standing trend in Europe and now made popular in the United States by retailers such as Restoration Hardware.

 “La Maison” Traditional Trend Inspired “Industrial Chic” Design and Finishesbedroom pendant

Although “Industrial Chic” design uses many of the same key finishes and materials as the “La Maison” trend, “Industrial Chic” design incorporates Industrial “Found Objects” and institution-scaled accessories are a big part of the look. With “Industrial Chic” design, you can use industrial shapes and finishes to create the on-trend look in almost any transitional space. Great examples of chic fixtures include light fixtures that feature clean drum shades as well as over-sized pendant lights. The drum shape in itself is an industrial shape. You can soften the look by using linen and burlap fabrics which are common to the trend. In 2013, Sea Gull Lighting introduced several drum shaped, fabric semi-flush and pendant fixtures, including pieces from the Stirling collection shown below.  Stirling, with its chic style and eclectic twist brings clean, modern lines to a traditional soul. White linen drum shades in combination with brushed nickel finish is eye-catching and inviting.Pendant

The Brayden Collection, by Sea Gull Lighting, is another drum shape option available in a darker finish. The Brayden’s elegantly simple fabric drum shade is highlighted by a fun design element with an industrial flair. At the crown of the fixture, three thick, metal rods hook to the center structure, adding an unexpected twist to this classic silhouette. An acrylic diffuser, held in place with a metal finial, finishes off the look.Dining Room Pendant

In an industrial setting, lights are typically meant for a specific task. For example, pendant lights are used as task lighting when working on a manufactured product.  Although the concept of pendant lighting in a kitchen setting is not new, the Kitchen1over-sized pendants using industrial materials over an island are an easy way to create an “Industrial Chic” feel in the kitchen.  Inspired by industrial lighting, the hard-working, large-scale pendants in Sea Gull Lighting’s Pratt Street Collection put light where you need it, while making a significant design statement. Pratt Street is offered in a choice of Prismatic Glass or Machine-Shaped Metal styles. Fully enclosed, a prismatic diffuser spreads light output evenly and alleviates glare.

As we look forward to the new product introductions slated for 2014, many lighting manufacturers will continue to add industrial style light fixtures to their collections that include bare-bulb light fixtures, fixtures with wire cage and other innovative designs that will include the key elements of the “Industrial Chic” trend. Stay tuned to get a first glimpse into Sea Gull Lighting’s new industrial style chandeliers and pendants set for release in late fall 2013.

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Kids rooms: Décor that transitions as they grow

When it comes to decorating children’s spaces, it’s easy to go all out with vibrant hues and fun themes. The problem is, kids don’t stay kids forever, and if you commit to something that doesn’t transition as they mature, a lot of redecorating (and the associated cost) is in your future.

Here are a few top tips to keep in mind to create a beautiful children’s space that also transitions with time:

1. Select a classic color palette

Classic colors aren’t necessarily bland colors. Some of the top color pairings for kids include gray and yellow, pink and green, pink and black, sage and beige, and purple and green. Furthermore, these color combos have lasting power – perfect for a nursery or a teen’s abode.CrystoramaKids1

2. Think concept, not characters

Your child may beg you to go all out with décor featuring her favorite TV character, but try to resist. In a year she’ll be on to something new and you’ll be stuck with a dated theme. Look at the big picture and use accents to bring life to the space. Colorful pillows, throws and rugs add zest, and keep character overload at bay.

3. Love the light

Lighting is the perfect way to add an interesting focal point to a child’s space. Keep scale in mind as you select your options, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. A mini crystal chandelier or sleek chrome ceiling fan from Crystorama works for little or big kids, and may become the trademark feature of the space.

4. Choose fun, but functional furniture

There are some pieces of furniture you’ll need to replace as a child grows, particularly the bed. But other pieces should be selected with longevity in mind. Chairs, dressers and desks need to have lasting power so they work today and tomorrow. Keep in mind durability – kids are tough on their stuff, so durable materials that can easily be cleaned are ideal.

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5. Remember organization

Children’s rooms are typically smaller spaces within a home, yet kids tend to accumulate so much stuff! Cut the clutter by kidsStoragedesigning their room with organization in mind. Baskets, built-ins and creative shelving should all be incorporated into a child’s space. When clutter overflows, it’s time for a sort-and-donate session.