5 easy ways to get your living room ready for entertaining

When guests are coming over, it’s essential that your living room is prepared for entertaining. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hosting a large party or just having your closest friends over for drinks. The wrong living room set up can turn a promising evening into a disappointing dud. Here’s how to make sure your living room is ready for company so that the evening runs smoothly and everyone has a good time.

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interior design livingroom real estate home

interior design livingroom real estate home1. Create mood lighting – The right mood lighting should be dark enough so that everyone can feel relaxed and comfortable. It should also, however, be bright enough that your guests can still see! Use multiple light sources throughout the room and dim your overhead light so that it doesn’t feel too harsh.

Mambo

2. Set up furniture to create an intimate setting – While your furniture setup might be ideal for everyday living, it may not be the best arrangement for a party environment. Rearrange your furniture close together so that people can converse without straining themselves.

3. Allow room for movement – You want your guests to circulate! So as you’re rearranging your furniture, keep in mind that while you want to create an intimate setting, the room should also have clear paths so guests can easily move about. If the room isn’t setup for movement, your guests might feel stuck in one place all night.

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Photo credit: Everydayelsie

4. Have a drink station – Even though you’re the host, you shouldn’t have to be in the kitchen all night making drinks. With a drink station set up in your living room, you can either let your guests help themselves, or serve them drinks without having to leave all of the fun.

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5. Make sure your space is clutter-free – You’ve already deep-cleaned the living room, but it’s easy for miscellaneous items to somehow make their way back. The day of the party, be sure to do one final check to make sure everything is neatly organized and put away in the right spot.

Throwing a good party takes some planning and strategic decorating. On the night of the event, however, all your hard work will pay off and your party will be a smashing success.

By Wendy Weinert

11 Problems with Lighting

Photo By: chris.corwin (Flickr)

Photo By: chris.corwin (Flickr)

When it comes to interior design, lighting is an element that often gets overlooked. I have walked into a room many times and felt that something was a little off; the couches look good, the fabric of the curtains hangs nicely against the wall, and the rug is the perfect size, but something is missing. A quick scope of the lights, and there is my answer. Lighting ties a room together. It is the beginning and final touches of a room. When designing a room, problems with lighting can arise. Sometimes you can’t get it to electrically work, and often it simply does not work in a room. Here are 11 problems that are often found in a room.

Lighting in all the Wrong Places

I could have twenty different lights in the same room, but if they aren’t placed correctly, it might end up dark in the place I need the light the most. This is often a struggle when a room is wired electrically wrong.

Unsightly Lighting

If a light is ugly it doesn’t matter how bright it shines or where it hangs; it will be continue to be an eyesore. Read about these awful light-fixtures and why they should never have been hung in these rooms.

No Task Light in the Kitchen

The kitchen is where I cook, and it is so frustrating when the upper cabinets block the light from my working space. Learn about how installing lighting under your cabinets adds function with a touch of style.

No Dimmers

My mood changes throughout the day and a dimmer makes it easy to adjust the feel of a room. I have to have a dimmer in the family room. Being able to lower the lights while watching a movie is important. Adding a dimmer, along with these other lighting tips, will get your house glowing in the right way.

Too Many Recessed Lights

I love using can lights in a room, but when they are the only thing lighting a room it can feel dark. Recessed lights make it difficult for the light to escape and stretch out in the room. Read more about using too many recessed lights along with five other lighting mistakes in a home.

Energy Wasters

The biggest thing I look at when remodeling or designing any room is creating a room that is stunning and functional. Too many people jump on a design they love without thinking about the comfort or cost in the long run. Selecting energy-efficient lights can save energy and money while still giving the desired look.

Electrical Problems

If you are changing light-bulbs constantly or watching the bulb flicker, you are probably experiencing electrical problems. Read about the most common electrical problems and whether your little problem is actually a big one.

Lacking Variety

Don’t get too excited and start hanging all your favorite lights in the same room. Having variety is important, but this applies to the entire house. The kitchen, bathroom, and family room all serve a very different purpose. Lights should play a role in helping that room be functional.

Misuse of Natural Light

Natural light can play a huge part in lighting a room during the day. Embracing it can make a room completely bright without turning on any switches.

No Accent Lighting

I absolutely love accent lights in interior design. Using it around artwork, along stairs, and under cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms are a few of my favorite places to see the little lights glowing.

Too Many Lights

I have talked about how less is more, and it applies to lighting as well. Having too many different lights can be overwhelming and distracting. Position a couple of lights appropriately can give the same effect and provide an equal amount of brightness as hanging several lights; it also can save money on your electric bill.

by Wendy Weinert

Get the Restaurant Experience in your Home with Lighting

Elgo Lighting Intimate Dining

There’s a reason why most people prefer to dine out for a special occasion or when they need a night of fun. Going to a nice restaurant with friends, family members or significant others often creates a sense of intimacy and specialness. It can also, however, get expensive. The good news is that you don’t always have to pay for an expensive meal to enjoy a special evening with loved ones. You can create an intimate dining experience right in your own home! All you have to do is rethink your dining room lighting strategy and follow these three tips.

Currey & Company Assurance Oval Chandelier

Hang up a chandelier

While many of us love to lounge in our sweatpants, it’s always fun to have a reason to get dressed up and look our best. When you’re feeling the urge to put on a nice dress and host a dinner party, it’s important that your dining room doesn’t feel overly casual. The right chandelier will add sparkle and drama to your dining room, and your evening will instantly feel more special.

room with table lamp and small fountain

Install dimmers or use indirect lighting

Nicer restaurants typically set an intimate mood with soft, darker lighting. You can utilize this same technique by installing dimmers in your dining room or choosing to use indirect lighting. Dimmers work better than most options, because they allow you to change a room’s lighting whenever you want. So when you need a well-lit room during the day, all you have to do is adjust the dimmer switch.  The advantage of indirect lighting such as floor lamps and table lamps is the mobility of the lighting source and the ability to set up lighting in different areas to fit the specific dining experience.

3 Luminary candles

Photo Credit: Usershot

Decorate with candles

Once you dim the lights, it is usually best to have an additional light source so that you and your guests can see each other and your food more properly. Candles are the perfect solution for adding light because their soft glow adds even more ambience and can be used to create a more romantic setting.

With the right lighting plan in your dining room, you don’t have to dine out to enjoy a special evening with loved ones. Just put on your best outfit, pour a glass of red wine and then you’re good to go!

By Wendy Weinert

How to Store your Wall Decals

Taking down decorations after the holidays can be a big hassle. There’s the tree to put away, ornaments to repackage, and it may take a while to neatly organize and pack away every decoration that was neatly placed all throughout the house. Like your decorations, stored away and ready to be used next year, holiday wall decals follow the same process, if you purchase ones that are reusable that is!

Roommates Decor

Our wall decals from RoomMates are reusable, which is one of the coolest features about them. They have long-lasting adhesive, which means they can be removed and re-applied over and over again, if stored properly. If not stored properly, the decals could curl, resulting in lack of adhesion to the surface.

Want to know how to safely and easily store these wall decals? Just follow our simple how to guide to properly store your wall decals year after year!

Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

    • Your wall decals
    • A second set of hands
    • The original decal liner sheets or wax paper
    • Rubber bands (optional)
    • Cardboard tubes (optional)

Remove the decals and apply to liners.

Slowly remove the decals from the wall. More intricate designs will require additional care to avoid tearing. Apply the decals onto the liner, removing any air bubbles. Special Note: If you’re reusing the original liners, make sure they are dry and free of dust or dirt before re-application.

  • Roll the liners into the tubes.

To protect the decals when not in use, we suggest rolling the liners and securing them with a rubber band. For additional protection, place the roll into a cardboard tube.

  • Re-apply!

We know how fast the year flies by, and it will soon be time for you to unpack your wall decals for the holiday season. To re-apply, unroll the liners and allow the decals to lay flat for 24-48 hours. Make sure your walls are clean and dry before re-applying your RoomMates wall decals. Then carefully remove the decals from the liner and re-apply to your wall. You should find that they stick to the wall just as they did the first time you used them.

Storing your wall decals is a simple, as long as you have the right tools and a helpful set of hands.

Nicole Noll is a wall decal expert and works at RoomMates Decor and is a contributing writer to Bellacor. She is passionate about all things pertaining to DIY projects and frequently writes about home decor, re-purposing and home organization.To read more of Nicole’s blog posts, follow the RoomMates Decor blog and add Nicole on Google +

Party-ready your Home with these 3 Lighting Tips

LivingRoom_Chandelier_Milano

You’ve rearranged your furniture, cleaned every inch of your home, created a playlist, and picked out your party outfit. All you need to do now is set the mood with a great lighting strategy. Lighting can have a huge impact on a room’s ambience, which means it can also have a pretty big effect on your party. Set just the right mood and make your party a night to remember by following these three lighting tips.

Elegant dining

1. Keep lighting low: While you might appreciate having your overhead light turned on during the day, the bright light can feel a little harsh during a party. Consider switching out your light bulbs for ones with lower watts. Or, install dimmer switches so you can create a darker setting at a moment’s notice. You also have the option to just leave your overhead lighting off, and use indirect lighting instead.

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2. Use multiple light sources: Creating the right amount of lighting can be tricky. While you want to keep the lighting low, it’s important that you also prevent certain areas of the room from becoming too dark.

Using multiple light sources throughout the room will allow you to keep all areas of your space lit just right. Lighting options you might consider include hanging up a string of lights, turning on lamps, lighting candles, installing a dimmed chandelier and displaying wall sconces.

Anora_Collection

3. Accentuate interesting elements: Mood lighting tends to hide the imperfections in your home such as a stain on your carpet or a scratched cabinet. You can also, however, use accent lighting to highlight décor or architectural elements you want to show off. Place lights strategically behind plants and furniture for a dramatic look. A well-placed wall sconce can be used to enhance a piece of artwork you want your guests to notice.

Every party needs a little mood lighting to make the evening feel more special. Try using these lighting tips in your own home and your home will be party-ready in no time!

By Wendy Weinert

Ready to change your dining room style? Start with a new dining table.

Dining rooms can be designed in a variety of different styles and sizes, but most have at least one important thing in common: they are all defined by a dining table.

Photo Credit: Monarch Specialties

Photo Credit: Monarch Specialties

If you’re ready to change up your dining room style and give it a new look, you’ll want to start with buying the right table. The choices you make regarding a table’s shape, design and color can have a huge impact on the room’s overall style and can help set the tone you were hoping to achieve.

Consider these four dining room styles:

Traditional – If you prefer a more traditional dining room look, find a table with styling characteristics to match. Traditional dining tables do not have to be a particular shape, but rectangular and round tables are common. You will also want to look for tables with rich wood finishes and ornate detailing like carved legs.

Traditional Dining Table Bellacor Number 397321

Traditional Dining Table Bellacor Number 397321

Contemporary – If you want a no-fuss living room, then a modern style table is for you. Minimalist lines without any ornate detailing are features you will want to look for in a modern table. Contemporary tables are often made from metals and feature a glass tabletop. If you have kids and the thought of glass tables scares you, then sleek wooden tables also work just fine.

Modern Dining Table. Bellacor #832353

Modern Dining Table. Bellacor #832353

Rustic/country – A nice country style dining room is easy to achieve with tables that have distressed or weathered wood. So instead of looking for that perfectly crafted table, you’ll want a table with some imperfections. Chipped finishes or a chunky appearance give the table character, which is perfect for a country style dining room.

Rustic Dining Room Table. Bellacor #736463

Rustic Dining Room Table. Bellacor #736463

Transitional – If you can’t choose between a contemporary or traditional style dining room, go transitional. A transitional style combines traditional and contemporary characteristics to create a more casual look. For example, if a table has a rich Cherry finish mixed with sleek lines, it is considered to be transitional. This style is perfect if you prefer a more laid-back environment.

Transitional Dining Table. Bellacor #753390

Transitional Dining Table. Bellacor #753390

What dining room style do you want to create? Once you’ve determined the style, simply find a dining table to match!

By Wendy Weinert

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…how to choose the right mirror for your wall space

Photo Credit: Uttermost

Photo Credit: Uttermost

Decorating your home with mirrors is a great way to liven up a space and add a touch of visual excitement. With so many styles, shapes and colors, however, it can be hard to choose the right mirror. A great way to narrow down your various options is to determine why you are hanging a mirror in the first place. Just ask yourself – do you want your mirror to:

Add more light in a room and make it appear larger?
To open up a space and give it more light, try propping a full-length, frameless mirror up against the wall. If you want to save space and prefer the look of smaller, more decorative mirrors, then hang up a variety of different sized and shaped mirrors next to each other on your wall. A mixture of circular, square and other shaped mirrors will add an intriguing element to your space while making it appear larger at the same time.

Photo Credit: Surya

Photo Credit: Surya

Help you to get ready before leaving the house?

If you’re picking out a mirror to help you get ready in the morning before heading to work, you’ll want to consider lighted mirrors. A lighted mirror above the sink will fit in well with your bathroom décor and will provide enough light to put on make-up, do your hair or just do a quick check before heading out the door. It is also a good idea to put in front of some kind of light. In front of a lamp, a pendant, or even an entry way chandelier will not only add to the light source that you have but will make the space seem larger.

Add pizzazz to a bare wall?

Maybe the only reason why you want to hang up a mirror is to cover up an unadorned wall. If that’s the case, then you have plenty of options to choose from and can try more unique styles. Add a whimsical element to your room and give it a more positive vibe with a sunburst mirror. Any mirror that is designed with a stylish frame or unique shape will work.

Photo Credit: Trend Lighting

Photo Credit: Trend Lighting

Any room in your home can benefit from a beautiful wall mirror. Just choose the mirror that will function best in a particular space and enjoy having wall décor that is both stylish and useful!

By Wendy Weinert

How to Choose the Right Paint Color

PaintColor samplesIf you’ve ever spent any time at your local paint store or even in a hardware store that offers paint to customers you know how many different options and shades of each color are available. Considering that, it’s no surprise that many people don’t know where to begin when it comes to choosing the right paint color.

While there’s no definitive answer for every person and every home, there are some basic guidelines that can help you make appropriate choices. Typically, these guidelines can be applied to your home room by room, making sure your whole home ties together and maintains the right atmosphere throughout. Don’t forget about the lighting in the room as this will change how your color appears. Natural vs. electric light sources and the type they are – task, general, or ambient lighting will effect the color outcome.

Kitchen

Your kitchen is a room you likely spend a lot of time in, and it’s one where you probably spend time relaxing and feeling the pressure to get things done when entertaining or cooking for family. That’s why light and color is so important in this space.

You can’t go wrong with brighter colors in most kitchens, including colors like yellow, crisp white and even certain more saturated shades of colors like orange and cream, like the one below from Access Lighting. After all, the most important part of choosing a color for your kitchen is making sure it helps open up the space and give it energy, not enclose it.

Photo Credit: Access Lighting

Photo Credit: Access Lighting

Living Room

How you pick a color for your living room really depends on the type of living room you’re working with. A formal space need something different than a casual area where you spend time with family.

For a formal living room, choosing neutral colors that are soothing and refined like chocolate, cream, navy and beige are often ideal. For a room where you spend time with family those same colors can work, but you might want to soften the palate a bit and go for something a bit more playful – a royal blue instead of navy, perhaps.

Photo Credit: Artcraft Lighting

Photo Credit: Artcraft Lighting

Dining Room

Your dining room is a space that you want to feel elegant yet comfortable, so paint color plays an important role in pulling off that effect. In most cases you’ll want to work with more neutral colors in the dining room, and colors like crème, beige and even shades of green or navy can work well.

However, for a more playful space, choosing lighter, less saturated colors like pastels can also work, especially if you live in a coastal region or nature is close at hand.

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is a space where you should be spending time relaxing and unwinding from stressful days. While many people use their bed as a second office, that isn’t the atmosphere you want to cultivate.

When picking out colors for your master bedroom, relaxation should be what you have in mind. Deep, saturated colors that are dark can help provide that – colors like deep greens or a plum/eggplant color. However, you can also choose softer colors like buttercream and even eggshell whites if you prefer a lighter space and still get the relaxing feeling you’re looking for.

Photo Credit: Craftmade Lighting

Photo Credit: Craftmade Lighting

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are all about getting ready for your day, but more and more, people are using them as a space to relax. If that’s you, choose natural earth tones for your bathroom and really focus on finding a color that feels natural and actually appears in nature.

If you spend most of the time in your bathroom rushing and getting ready, choose bright white, yellow or even a fun shade of green. What’s important for you is good lighting and not making the space feel claustrophobic.

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Choosing the right paint color for your space can feel ridiculously complicated, but the good news is that there really isn’t a right answer. While these suggestions can be helpful, anything that feels good to you is likely a wonderful decision for your home.

When picking paint, you’ll also want to consider the style of your home. A dining room in a home with Caribbean accents usually won’t want the same paint color as a home with Spanish revival details, so make sure you take that into consideration as well.

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Why pineapples are popular in interior design

Have you ever asked yourself why pineapples are so popular in interior design? Sure it’s a delightful and fun design trend, but what makes this fruit so special?

Pineapple Medley, Set of Three #612962

Pineapple Medley, Set of Three #612962

Pineapples have been showing up in American interior design for years now and it’s not just because they add a cute design element to one’s home. The reason for this fruit being a popular decorating choice has a lot to do with history and goes way back to the time of Christopher Columbus.

Christopher Columbus
Pineapples originated in South America, but once they were “discovered” by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the fruit made its way to Europe and became an instant hit. By the 17th century, this sweet fruit made its way to America – and design enthusiasts are grateful that it did! What started out as a delicious piece of fruit eventually became a stylish symbol for hospitality in people’s homes.
In early America, colonists had to import pineapples from the Caribbean and this made the fruit a rare commodity. Those who were lucky – or wealthy enough – to get a pineapple would show it off and use it to adorn their dining table. Since this fruit was so hard to come by, people who were visiting saw a pineapple centerpiece as a compliment and a welcoming gesture. The popular fruit then became symbolic and was more than just a tasty treat. It became a sign of neighborliness and was used to show friendliness toward guests.

It didn’t take long before pineapples moved from the dining table and started showing up in one’s interior design. People would welcome guests into their home with pineapples featured in light fixtures, doors, shutters, bedposts and even wallpaper!

Ellington by Craftmade Pineapple Matte White 52 Inch Blade Span Outdoor Ceiling Fan And Blades #827446

Ellington by Craftmade Pineapple Matte White 52 Inch Blade Span Outdoor Ceiling Fan And Blades #827446

Antique Gold Pineapple Table Lamp #444211

Antique Gold Pineapple Table Lamp #444211

Castilian Trading Acanthus Leaves and Pineapple Six-Light Chandelier #475198

Castilian Trading Acanthus Leaves and Pineapple Six-Light Chandelier #475198

Whitehall Products Pewter Silver Pineapple Aluminum Welcome Mat #132922

Whitehall Products Pewter Silver Pineapple Aluminum Welcome Mat #132922

If you love the look of pineapple designs and want to incorporate some historic symbolism into your home’s interior design, show off your hospitality with a stylish pineapple lamp or throw pillow in the living room. Guests will be intrigued by your new décor and be impressed with your welcoming taste.

By Wendy Weinert

Changes to the lighting industry: How will it affect you?

The final stage of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, which means traditional 60 watt and 40 watt bulbs are no longer being produced. Instead, manufacturing companies must make bulbs that produce the same amount of lumens for less wattage. But what does all of this mean exactly and how does it affect you? How does this effect the fixtures in your home?

Overall, this act means that you will start saving energy and money, which of course is good news for you! The new energy-saving bulbs use up to 80 percent less power than a traditional 60 watt bulb to produce the same amount of light. They also last longer. So even though these new bulbs are more expensive, you end up saving money in the long run because of lower energy bills and fewer replacements.
bulbs

Buying light bulbs is now easier too. In the past, you always had to look at watts to determine which bulb you wanted. Watts, however, only tell you how much energy a bulb uses, not how bright the bulb is. Instead of listing watts, new bulb labels will tell you exactly how bright a bulb is by providing the number of lumens. Just remember, the more lumens a bulb has, the brighter the light.

Lumens
When shopping for new energy-saving bulbs, use this conversion chart as a guide:

  • 150 w = 2600 lm
  • 100 w = 1600 lm
  • 75 w = 1100 lm
  • 60 w = 800 lm
  • 40 w = 450 lm

The new label on bulb packages follows the same format as the ones you see all of the time on food products. To make shopping online easier for you, Bellacor will start uploading the Lighting Facts Label as an alternate image on all Bulbrite bulbs. Besides lumens, this label will tell you an estimate of energy cost, an estimate of how long the bulb will last, the shade of light and whether the bulb contains mercury.

Lighting facts Label
Change can make people feel uncomfortable at times, but in this case change is a good thing. There’s a lot to love about these new energy-saving bulbs and you don’t have to buy special fixtures to enjoy them! Even dimmers are compatible with many of these energy-saving bulbs. Finally, you can enjoy having a well-lit home while still being efficient and cost-effective.

Learn more about these light facts at Energy.gov5 Myths about the Light Bulb Ban

By Wendy Weinert