Turn your kitchen into a cafe with these 5 ideas

What makes your favorite coffee spot the best? Is it the delicious cappuccino? The friendly staff? Maybe. But I bet it also has a lot to do with the atmosphere. The “vibe” we feel when stepping into a buzzing cafe is often the reason why we go out to get our coffee, rather than just brewing our own less-expensive cup at home. So why not try creating a similar atmosphere in your kitchen? Here are some fun ways you can bring the cafe experience to your own home.

1. Decorate for warmth
Photo credit: The Vintage Wren

Photo credit: The Vintage Wren

Coffee shops tend to have a warm, cozy atmosphere. Bring some of that coziness to your kitchen by carefully choosing colors. Warm shades of red, orange and brown are great colors for a cafe-inspired kitchen.

2. Make it trendycafe pendants

Coffee shop interiors rarely follow a simple, “timeless” design. They are all about keeping up with the latest trends. Vintage artwork, a hung-up chalkboard, quirky pendants – these are all ideas you can use to give your kitchen a trendy vibe.

3. Try out new furniturebar stools

Install a wooden shelf and add stools for bar seating, or give your kitchen cafe some sophistication with a small dinette set. With the right seating, you can have friends over for coffee dates or simply enjoy your morning cup in true cafe style.

4. Consider flooring 
Photo credit: House and Home

Photo credit: House and Home

Picture the floor of your favorite cafe. More than likely, it isn’t your typical kitchen linoleum flooring. Try wooden floors or help create that trendy vibe by installing an edgier design. Checkerboard flooring is a great idea if you’re going vintage.

5. Invest in a new coffee maker

When going to coffee shops, we often like to treat ourselves to a more complicated and expensive drink than just regular old coffee. Consider getting a cappuccino maker or something similar that will allow you to brew up a tasty treat when you’re in the mood for something different.

There’s no reason to stop visiting your favorite cafe, but with these ideas, you can enjoy a similar coffee shop experience more frequently – and for less money.

By Wendy Weinert

Messy house? Here are 5 things you can blame it on

We all want a clean house, but sometimes life, kids and our own habits can get in the way. If you feel like you come home every day to a messy house, there may be a few reasons why. Here are five problems that can make it difficult to keep a clean home and how to overcome them.

#1 Your schedule is busy and you don’t have a lot of time to clean.

Busy schedule

It’s hard to keep a house clean when you’re constantly on the move or your to-do list seems to never end. Taking time to clean, however, is important because a tidy home will help you feel less stressed and more organized. Even taking 15-30 minutes each day to clean can help you accomplish more of your tasks.

#2 You tend to procrastinate.

There are many times when I see a mess and think, “I’ll get to that later.” But then the mess piles up and pretty soon I’m feeling overwhelmed. By taking care of a mess right away, whether it’s dirty dishes or a cluttered room, you can prevent the mess from becoming a disaster.

#3 You have kids, a messy spouse or roommate.

If you aren’t the only one living in your home or apartment, then you aren’t the only one making messes. Split tasks to make your messy house easier to manage, and if you have roommates, talk with them. They might not realize that you prefer a cleaner home, and they are more likely to respect your living style if you ask nicely.

#4 You have too much stuff.

Declutter with shelving units

I’m not a hoarder, but there are times when I accumulate too much stuff and realize it’s time to de-clutter. If you don’t have enough room for all of your things, sort through them and get rid of what you don’t need.

#5 You need better storage solutions.

Ottoman with storage

If everything in your home has a designated place where it should be put away, cleaning will be easier and quicker, too. Consider ways you can improve the organization of your home. Dual-purpose furniture like ottomans or beds with storage are a great way to keep your home organized without taking up more space.

By Wendy Weinert

Tricky trend: Translucents – when to use and how to use them

A clear decorative figurine displayed in the living room is one thing, but a clear coffee table or chair? That’s something different entirely. Furnishing your home with translucent furniture can be tricky – which is why I’ve compiled some tips to help make it easier. First, before you go out and buy a new clear piece of furniture, determine whether the trend can work in your home and how to best incorporate it into your interior design.

Styles that work best with translucent furnitureclear chairs

Minimalism is a defining characteristic of modern homes, and sometimes contemporary homes, too. Choosing clear furniture is one way to create the minimalist look. Furniture pieces that are entirely translucent often feature simple forms and very few details, and they also appear to take up less space than pieces made of other materials (a benefit if you have a small space). If you have a modern interior, clear furniture would enhance the style and complement your room’s setup nicely.

Interior design styles that are neither modern or contemporary typically aren’t well-suited for entirely clear furniture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have translucent elements in your home. A wooden coffee table that features a clear surface, for example, can be used in traditional homes without compromising your room’s style.

How to incorporate the trend into your home
Photo credit: Frankly Esoteric

Photo credit: Frankly Esoteric

Clear furniture is eye catching and interesting in my opinion, but too many translucent pieces in a room – even in a modern home – can appear intimidating. Balance translucent furniture with other materials, such as wood, to create warmth in your room. Placing clear chairs around a wooden dining table is one way to do this. You can also try adding clear decorative pieces to continue the translucent theme without overdoing the look.

Translucents might be a tricky trend, but it’s a trend that can give your home a bolder and more interesting appearance. Try adding clear furniture to your home’s interior design and see the difference one material can make.

By Wendy Weinert

How to fill an open shelving unit with purpose

Open shelving, to me, is a great concept. It gives people the chance to store household items and add visual appeal to their space as well. Of course, open shelving units don’t automatically bring style to a room. It all depends on what items you choose to store and where you place them. Here are some tips that I’ve found useful when filling an open shelf.

The best items to store can be considered decorative, too. open shelves with blue

Behind closed doors, it doesn’t matter what I choose to store because those objects will only be seen when the doors are open. With an open shelf, however, I’m putting items on display for all to see – which means I want to choose appealing objects. Books in the living room, dishes in the kitchen or towels in the bathroom could all be featured on open shelving units. Remember, some things should be left hidden in a cabinet!

Decorations can be used to fill empty spaces and to enhance the overall look.
Photo credit: Millas Hem

Photo credit: Millas Hem

 

There’s nothing wrong with filling an open shelf with only decorative items, but using shelves to display household objects can help you save space and keep your room organized. I think that a mix of functional and decorative items is best. Picture frames and other decor items can be used to complete the shelf display, fill an empty space and ultimately improve the look. If you want to add both visual and practical appeal, decorative storage boxes can be a great solution. They allow you to store unappealing household items and add style to your shelf.

You can show off the most appealing pieces by displaying them at eye level. open shelves silver

If your open shelving unit is positioned close to the ceiling, you can get away with storing less-appealing items. If I have a shelf at eye level, however, it matters what I choose to feature. Save your best objects, those that fit in best with your room’s design and help enhance the look, for the eye-level shelves.

Open shelving units can be a two-in-one solution for your space because they can help with both your room’s organization and its style. With these tips in mind, play around with your open shelves to determine which household items are best to feature.

By Wendy Weinert

Mixing patterns 101: How to effectively mix and match patterns in your home

Mixing patterns in the same room can lend a designer look to your space, but doing so can also create a chaotic appearance depending on the patterns you choose. Read on to learn how you can pull off the look and add a designer touch to your home.

Photo Credit: Centsational Style

Photo Credit: Centsational Style

The number of patterns you choose for your room can influence whether they work together or not. Odd numbers tend to look more appealing, so incorporate a minimum of three patterns in each space. While it’s not a hard and fast rule, the 60-30-10 strategy can make decorating easier. With the 60-30-10 approach, 60 percent of the patterns will be your favorite one out of the three, 30 percent your second favorite and use the third pattern (10 percent) as an accent.

Photo Credit: The Southern Thing

Photo Credit: The Southern Thing

Color is also important when mixing and matching patterns. An easy way to ensure that various patterns will create a cohesive look is to find patterns that feature the same colors. Polka dots and stripes can go together well when matching colors are involved.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you want to mix colors as well as patterns, make sure the colors are at least the same intensity. Vibrant hues might not work well with soft pastels.

My last piece of advice? Use your instincts. You might have to play around with different patterns to create a look you feel good about, but your gut will tell you whether the mixed designs are stylish or just a mess.

By Wendy Weinert

Decorate the natural way: A guide to natural-fiber rugs

Photo credit: Iridescence

Photo credit: Iridescence

I’ve noticed more and more people choosing natural-fiber rugs lately. If you’ve read some of my earlier entries, you already know that I am a fan of natural rugs (although synthetic rugs have their place, too). Natural-fiber rugs are durable, stylish and depending on which fiber you choose, they can also be very affordable. If you’re considering a natural-fiber rug for your home, use this guide to narrow down your options and choose the best material for your space.

Wool: If you’re searching for a soft, high-quality rug, wool is a great option. Wool rugs are soft, durable and stain-resistant, which makes them well-suited for high-traffic areas.wool rug

Jute: Jute is the softest fiber you can choose and also often the least expensive. It is also much less durable than other natural fibers, though. Choose a jute rug for low- or medium-traffic areas.

Bamboo: They might not be as soft as other rugs, but bamboo rugs are long-lasting and great for areas like the entryway. Bamboo rugs also feature a unique, earthy style that many homeowners love.

Hemp: Hemp, also known as mountaingrass, is a renewable and pesticide-free fiber. If you prefer colorful rugs with patterns, consider using a hemp rug as a layering piece.Cotton: If you like the look and feel of wool but don’t want to pay a higher price, cotton rugs can be a great alternative. Keep in mind, however, that cotton rugs aren’t as durable and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Seagrass: Most natural-fiber rugs are absorbant, making them bad for high-moisture areas. Seagrass, however, grows in marshes and can repel water. These seagrass rugs are also very durable and can handle years of wear.

Silk: Silk is very soft and gives rugs a shiny appearance. If you’re looking to add a touch of luxury to your space, a silk rug is a great choice.

Leather: Leather rugs bring texture and a unique style to any room. Use a leather rug to give your space a rustic appearance.leather rug

Depending on which one you choose, natural-fiber rugs can add style, warmth, color and function to your home. Before you buy one, consider where you will be placing the rug so you can choose the fiber that is best suited for the space.

By Wendy Weinert

7 Design Hacks for Any Space

Creating a space of your own is a lot of work. If you’re dreading a big move, or a little redecorating, because of all the arranging and rearranging that goes with it, take a look at these design hacks that make big projects simple.

1. Determine your focal point.
Fireplace - living room focal point

Photo credit: Casa Vogue Brasil

Whether it’s the TV, fireplace, window, or your favorite couch, decide where you want your attention focused. Once you know what to highlight, your arrangement will fall into place.

2. Use bed sheets to visualize how much space your furniture will need.

Fold bed sheets to the size of your furniture and place them around your space. You will discover which arrangement works best without having to move heavy pieces all over your room.

3. Lay your rug down first. Seriously.

If you’re using an area rug, put that in your space before you arrange your furniture. You’d be surprised how many people forget this.

4. Paper templates make hanging wall décor a breeze.
Paper templates for gallery wall

Photo credit: Rue Magazine

Cut out paper replicas of your wall décor and tape them where you want to hang your pieces. This saves your wall from unnecessary holes and helps you make sure your pieces are level.

5. Place your largest piece of furniture first.

This piece typically faces the focal point, and is the most difficult to move. Once your biggest item is in your space it will be easy to fill in the space around it.

6. Utilize dead spaces.
Console table behind sofa

Photo credit: Pinterest

Place a console table behind a sofa or stack a few decorative storage boxes in an odd corner. Your function should extend to every corner of your space, and accent furniture is a great way to add some unique character to your room.

7. Make sure there is a table near every seat.

Place an accent table by every seat

No one likes struggling to find a place to put their beverages. Consider arranging your living room so tables are easy to reach from all seats. Your future self will thank you. !

Keep these tricks in mind for an easy transition from a space to your space.

About Jessica Olson

Jessica Olson is a Minnesota blogger who writes about home decor and interior design. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.   She loves stories, pops of color, and a good joke.

 

Enjoy a more peaceful home with these 7 tips

I recently shared an article on farmhouse style and how its simple characteristics can make a home feel very peaceful. The farmhouse style isn’t for everyone, though, and you don’t have to enjoy country living to create a relaxing and quiet home. No matter what your preferred decorating style is, you can design a more peaceful environment with these quick tips.

1. If bright colors are energizing and oftentimes too stimulating, try decorating with muted colors instead. A softer shade of your favorite color can help you to feel more relaxed. (If you’re trying to decide on a color, blue is well-known for its calming effects!)

Blue walls are calming

Photo credit: Pinterest

2. To keep your overhead lighting from feeling too bright, install a dimmer switch that will soften the lighting. At night, you can add even more ambience by lighting a few candles.

3. I know cleaning doesn’t exactly sound relaxing, but keeping your floors and surfaces clear will help to reduce stress. At the end of the day or right away in the morning, set aside 10 minutes or so to tidy up each room so you can enjoy a clean home for the rest of the day.

4. If your home is lacking in decor, try bringing in some fresh flowers and plants. The natural scents will help you feel calm and some plants can even purify your home’s air.

Fresh Flowers

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

5. I think most people would agree with me when I say that nature is very peaceful. Along with decorating with plants, you can bring the outdoors inside with natural materials like jute or wicker.

Natural fiber rug

Photo credit: House of Turquoise

6. A simple decorating scheme is refreshing. Be careful not to add too many complicated patterns in one room or overcrowd your space with decorative accessories.

7. Are the loud neighbors or annoying traffic patterns causing you to feel stressed? Tune them out with soft music or consider buying a decorative water fountain.

Indoor Fountain

Whether your home is modern or traditional, you can enjoy a more peaceful environment. Try incorporating a few of these tips in your house and see how they work for you!

By Wendy Weinert

Layer your rugs for an interesting look

Photo credit: The Glitter Guide

Photo credit: The Glitter Guide

I don’t know if you all have heard, but layering rugs is in style – and I love that it is. I think there are many benefits to laying one rug on top of another. For example, if you have a beautiful rug that you want to display in the living room, but it is too small, layering a larger rug underneath is often the perfect solution. Layering rugs can also lend a designer look to your home, as it is bold and sometimes tricky to pull off.

If you like the layering rug trend as much as I do, here are some ideas for making it work.

Photo credit: Carla Aston

Photo credit: Carla Aston

1. Combine bright colors and interesting patterns with a neutral rug

One of the easiest ways to pull off the layered look is to pair a natural fiber rug in a neutral color with a very detailed and colorful one. When placing the colorful rug on top, make sure there is an equal amount of exposed rug around all sides underneath. Bonus point: this could also help you save some money, as large Oriental rugs can get expensive!

 

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

2. Use two or more rugs to create one larger rug

Instead of placing one rug directly on top of another, try setting them up side by side, with the edges slightly overlapping. This style is popular when using cowhide or sheepskin rugs, but you can try the look with other shapes, fabrics and styles as well. Just be sure the two rugs complement each other in some way.

Photo credit: SF Girl by Bay

Photo credit: SF Girl by Bay

3. Create an eclectic style by layering two different patterns

Layering a neutral rug with one that features intricate patterns and a variety of colors is easy. Pairing two or more rugs together that all show different patterns is much harder! To create a cohesive look, try finding different rugs that all feature a similar style. Two tribal-print rugs make sense together, but a tribal print mixed with a floral pattern might not.

These ideas will help get you started, but there are other ways to layer rugs as well. Play around with what you have and see what works!

By Wendy Weinert

Bring personality to your dining room by mixing and matching chairs

 

Mismatched dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

Who says your dining chairs have to match? While it’s perfectly okay to purchase a dining table and chairs as a set, you could be missing an opportunity to create a unique look for your space. Mixing and matching chairs allows you to add some fun and personality to your dining room, which is especially useful if you don’t have a lot of space to decorate.

Keep in mind as you mix chairs that there still needs to be a unifying element tying them together. Here are four unifying characteristics to consider:

Color

Even if every chair around your table consists of a different design, the overall look will still appear put together and intentional if they all feature the same color. It may be difficult to find chairs that all have the exact same shade, but you can always paint them if the chairs aren’t upholstered.

Mismatched blue dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

Material 

Just like with color, you can place different chairs in the dining room that are made up of the same material, such as wood, to create a unique, cohesive look. You don’t even have to use just chairs. Consider placing a bench on one or more sides of the table and let guests be impressed by your creativity.

Mismatched wood dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

Patterns

If you prefer upholstered chairs, look for different chairs that feature the same pattern. For example, if you like stripes, you can surround your table with chairs that all have the same striped pattern. Or you can mix striped chairs with chairs that have no pattern at all to keep the look from appearing too busy overall.

Mismatched upholstered chairs featuring the same pattern

Photo credit: Pinterest

Style

Every decorating style consists of unique elements, so use those elements to mix and match your dining chairs. For a traditional dining room, you can use the style’s characteristics – such as detailed carvings and dark wood tones – to find unity among your chairs. If you have a modern dining room, seek out chairs that are simple and sleek.

Modern mismatched chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

If your dining room is lacking the excitement you would like, have some fun mixing and matching dining chairs to create visual interest. With a quirky setup, you’ll never have to worry about your style being bland or predictable!

By Wendy Weinert