7 tips for designing an eye-catching fireplace

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, you should draw attention to it with great decor! I love fireplaces for the warmth they provide in the winter, but I also love their charming looks and how they can enhance a living room’s interior design all year long.

If your fireplace is looking a little bare, add visual appeal by decorating above the mantel. These seven tips will help get you started.

1. Don’t forget about the wall. 
Photo credit: HGTV

Photo credit: HGTV

The mantel shelf is a great place to add decorative items, but you can also draw attention to your fireplace by hanging a mirror, clock or piece of artwork on the wall directly above the mantel. If you decide to go this route, decorate the shelf with pieces that complement your wall art and complete the look.

2. Illuminate with lighting.
Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

Mood lighting can give your fireplace an even cozier look. Try decorating the shelf with candles or hanging two sconce lights on the wall above the mantel.

3. Get creative with art.

Photo credit: The Inspired Room

You can hang up your favorite piece of art on the wall, or if it’s small enough, stand it on the shelf at an angle. For an eclectic look, place three or more smaller paintings on the shelf so they overlap.

4. Play with different heights. 
Photo credit: Thimble Blossoms

Photo credit: Thimble Blossoms

Using decorative items of varying heights is a great way to create more visual interest. Play around with different arrangements and objects to get the look just right.

5. Use balance to create a put-together look. 
Photo credit: Tidbits and Twine

Photo credit: Tidbits and Twine

Consider how your fireplace would look if it were split down the center. Would it look balanced? Your fireplace decor doesn’t have to be perfectly symmetrical, but finding a balance will help your display look good.

6. Create a theme. 
Photo credit: Digs Digs

Photo credit: Digs Digs

If you’re struggling to find the right decor for your fireplace, try coming up with a theme. You could create a vintage theme by decorating only with antique items, or you could do something as simple as using the same color.

7. Keep in mind your room’s style. 
Photo credit: One Kind Design

Photo credit: One Kind Design

There are a lot of ways you can decorate your fireplace, and what works for you might depend on the room’s style. If your living room, for example, follows a minimalist style, then a cluttered mantel shelf might look out of place.

By Wendy Weinert

Which comes first: the chicken or the egg? – A redecorating plan

It’s inevitable. You find a stunning new couch or lamp online, but when it arrives at your door you realize it doesn’t go with your current room! So you start redecorating, picking out paint colors and rearranging furniture. Now hold up! Before you get too carried away, be sure to follow our redecorating plan so you aren’t stuck in the same situation and forced to redecorate once more.

1. Decide on a style 

In order for a room to come together, it’s essential that you redecorate it with a specific style in mind. Choose a style that complements your favorite new piece of furniture. Or go another route completely and pick a theme you’ve always wanted to try. Once the style is chosen, every decision you make in regard to redecorating should then help you create that theme for your room.

2. Write down everything you want to keep

Redecorating doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything currently in the room. More than likely, your room already has plenty to work with and you just need to make some adjustments. When writing down which items you want to keep, make sure they all go together and match the style you’re trying to create.

3. Make lighting a priority Sitting_Chairs.Lamp.wallart

No matter what style you’re trying to create, lighting is always one of the most important elements of a room. Even if you love all your new paint colors and accessories, a poorly lit room will make the room look more drab than fab. Create a lighting plan before you start rearranging furniture and then work around that plan.

4. Create a room plan
Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

 

You don’t need to be an artist to draw up a room plan. A simple sketch that indicates where everything will go in the room is just fine. Sketching a room plan will help you get a sense of whether your setup will actually work before you start redecorating.

It doesn’t matter if you redecorate because of a new sofa or because you simply want a fresh space. Just be sure to start with a style in mind, so you can create a cohesive room in the end.

By Wendy Weinert

Ugly house? Fix it with symmetry

You might not spend much time thinking about symmetry, but it affects you, me and everyone else. For instance, people with symmetrical faces are often seen as more attractive (although we rarely realize symmetry is the reason). In interior design, symmetry can help you feel safe and comfortable. It can also help make a room feel complete.

Try these three ideas for creating symmetrical balance in your home. A little symmetry might be just what your interior needs to turn into a beautiful and welcoming environment.

  • Invest in two nightstands instead of one.

    Photo credit: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

    Placing a nightstand on both sides of your bed will give your room stability and help you feel more comfortable right before falling asleep.

  • Create symmetry with artwork. 

There are different ways to do this. You could hang up two pieces side by side or group four pictures of the same size and shape together. If you want to hang up three paintings, have the outer pieces match in size and shape.

  • Hang two pendants above the dining table. Pendant2

If you have a larger table, this is a great way to ensure proper lighting.

I’ve only listed a few, but the possibilities for creating symmetry are endless. Besides using the ideas above, you can also create a symmetrical balance by pinpointing the vertical axis in each room and then decorating both sides of that axis so that they mirror each other. For example, in the living room, the coffee table can be considered the axis, in which case seating on both sides should then match.

Without even realizing it, we see symmetrical designs as being more attractive and balanced than those without it. While not everything in your home needs to be perfectly symmetrical (that would get boring fast), mirroring furniture and/or decor can bring order to your space and enhance its beauty. Improve your home’s design with symmetry and enjoy a more comforting, attractive space.

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

Tricks to Sizing Your Dining Room

Dining room

Working for Bellacor made me realize how much there is to consider when buying furnishings for your dining room. Not only do you have to worry about budget, color, and personal taste, you also have to consider size.
Figuring out the best size table and the perfectly proportioned fixture for your needs can be confusing. Here are the tips I use to direct people to their best pieces.

Sizing Your Dining Table

The table is the heart of the dining room. Whether you use your dining room for every meal, or only special occasions, the following tips will help you choose the most functional table for any space.
1. Make sure you have a clearance of 42”- 48” around your table. This will allow enough room for seating as well as traffic flow.
• If you have a small dining room, consider using a round table. Not only does this
maximize your small space, but it also allows for a more intimate dining experience.
• Consider choosing a square table if you have a square room. This will give more
symmetry to your space and create a more put-together look.

2. Determine how many place settings you need. Each person will need about 24” of space.
• A rectangular table has as many place settings as it does feet. A 6’ table will sit 6 people, an 8’ table will sit 8 people, and so on.
• A round table’s place settings depend on what kind of base it has. A round table with a pedestal base has 1 more place setting than feet, and a table with legs has 1 less place setting than feet. For example, a 5’ pedestal table seats 6 while a 5’ table with legs seats 4.

3. Don’t forget about seat height! Look for chairs with a 16” seat height for a table that is 27” high. For tables between 28” and 30” high, use chairs with an 18” seat height.
• Don’t worry if you and your family are very tall or on the shorter side, these are just general tips. Play around with seat height until you find the one most comfortable for you!

Dining table size chart

Photo credit: Holiday Home Times

Sizing Your Light Fixture

Now that you’ve picked out your table, let’s move on to finding the perfect overhead lighting for you. While sizing your fixture might seem overwhelming at first, here are some tips you will find illuminating.

Kichler Hayman Bay Chandelier

1. The width of your chandelier should be three-quarters to one-half as wide as your dining table. Ideally, your fixture should be about twelve inches narrower than your table to prevent your more accident-prone guests from bumping their heads.
• If you have a long, rectangular table, consider using an island pendant instead of a traditional chandelier. A longer fixture will draw your eye down the length of the table.
• Try using pendants installed on an adjustable track if you have a dining table with a leaf. This lets your lighting expand as your table does.
• For those of you choosing lighting before your furniture, just add the length and width of your room together to determine the best width for your chandelier. A 10’x10’ room would have a chandelier 20” in width.

Maxim Lighting Pendants

2. Your lighting should hang between 30”- 32” above your table. If you have a ceiling more than 8’ high, add three inches for every additional foot. For example, if you have 12’ ceilings, hang your fixture between 42”- 44” from the table.
• Low hanging lighting over a table creates intimacy while high hanging lighting creates formality. Feel free to play around with your hanging height to best fit your style, but make sure to allow enough room to comfortably enjoy your food.
• Adding tall chandelier shades can help put your chandelier in proportion with high ceilings. Try using 12” chandelier shades for high ceilings.

3. Remember to consider the visual weight of your fixture. The shape and design of your chandelier has a big effect on your vertical space.
• Sleek, light fixtures look bigger and will help fill up dining rooms with high ceilings.
• Remember that traditional style chandeliers may look smaller in spaces because of their detailed design.
Now that you know how to size up when it comes to the dryer side of design, you can focus on the fun things like color and style!

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.

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

Decorating for an open floor plan

Open Floor Plan

Photo credit: Sublime Decor

Homeowners have made open floor plans a popular layout style, and depending on your space, you may find it a suitable design choice for your home as well. Instead of separating each room with walls, open floor plans combine rooms such as the kitchen, dining room and living room into one large open area. I find open floor plans very appealing in smaller homes, and the layout works well for those with more square footage as well. It’s a refreshing feeling to walk into a home with an open-floor layout. With fewer walls and longer sightlines, the style is soothing and instantly creates a less cluttered appearance.

If you decide on an open layout for your own home, or if you are at least considering the option, strategize how you plan to furnish and decorate before you start tearing down walls. Decorating with an open floor plan isn’t the same process as if you were setting up each room individually. With no dividing walls, you have to find a way to create distinct spaces that still fit under one cohesive style.

Defining distinct spaces

Open floor plan

Photo credit: Freshome

To design an open floor plan that works, use furniture and accessories to create distinct rooms within the large area. Although there are no walls separating each room, there should still be individual focal points for each room, such as a pendant over the dining table or the entertainment center in the living room.

Another trick you can try is to divide the rooms not with walls, but with furniture. A large shelving unit can help you create clearly defined spaces, without losing the benefits of an open floor plan.

Creating a unified look

Unified look in an open floor plan

Photo credit: Pinterest

Creating separate rooms that also look cohesive can be a challenge. Tie the rooms together by decorating each space in the same style and color palette. If you’re decorating the kitchen to be mid-century modern for example, search for furniture and accessories that fit into that style as well. Even though each room will have very different purposes and furniture, they will look unified.

With furniture in the right place and a specific style carrying the overall look, you can create an open floor plan that not only works, but amazes.

By Wendy Weinert

 

The art of hanging your artwork at home

Hanging your artwork is, quite frankly, an art in and of itself. If your favorite painting is hung too high or too low, the room’s proportions and balance will be thrown off. Grouping pictures can be a challenge, too, as this strategy usually involves trying to create a put-together look with different-sized frames.

Although hanging artwork isn’t easy, take heart in knowing there are strategies that will make it less of a nightmare. Here are some tips I’ve found most helpful.

1. Hang art at eye level (or 57 inches from the floor)

Guests shouldn’t have to strain their necks to appreciate your art. That’s why it is usually recommended to hang pictures at eye level. Of course, “eye level” isn’t an easy height to guess. A more accurate method for determining eye level is to hang art so that the center is 57 inches from the floor. If you’re hanging art in a room where people spend most of their time sitting, you might consider lowering the art for a better view.

Photo credit: Forever Cottage

Photo credit: Forever Cottage

2. Group pictures about two inches apart

If you’re hanging art salon-style, where you group a collection of pictures close together, just be sure there is an equal amount of space between each frame. Two inches is usually recommended, but if you’re hanging smaller frames you might consider spacing each picture one and a half inches apart.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

3. Be patient and expect some trial and error

If you hang your art but it looks “off” for some reason, some adjustments may be needed to make it feel right. This is especially true when grouping photos together, as you’ll have to rely mostly on your own judgement to mix and match sizes. So you don’t make unnecessary holes, make a paper template to tape on the wall before you use a nail. Have some fun rearranging the templates to get the look you want. It may take time, but I guarantee the effort is worth making. Once you master the art of hanging art, you’ll be able to show off your fabulous collection with pride.

By Wendy Weinert

The Perfect Gift for Your Next Party

Summer brings lots of pool parties, birthday parties and family events. If you are the one hosting, the right décor and design is often top of mind, leaving the gifts to figure out later. This year, give a gift that is one-of-a-kind. If you are in a rush or can’t find the perfect gift, we have a few suggestions for you!

Consider Wall Decor

Wall décor is not only for adults but is a great gift for kids as well! No matter what your style is, wall decals from RoomMates make decorating easy and fun! Featuring your favorite licensed art like Minnie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Winnie the Pooh and Disney Pixar Cars, kids can bring their walls to life with their favorite characters and designs. (Wall decals by RoomMates also offer a wide selection of wall quotes, trees & branches and floral décor for adults). The best part is these wall decals are peel and stick. No sticky residue gets left on your walls! Plus, temporary decorating is great for kids since their favorite characters change so frequently!

Wall decor makes a nice gift if attending a child’s birthday party that has theme! The Frozen line is especially popular and is a special gift to give at a Frozen themed birthday party. What little girl wouldn’t want to open up her very own giant Elsa and hang her right up on her bedroom wall?

RoomMates Gift idea- Elsa

And one of our favorite reasons to give wall décor as a gift, it pairs well with bedroom themes. If the child’s bedroom décor is based on Mickey Mouse, giving a giant decal of Mickey or Mickey and his friends, just adds to the collection. Plus, after the décor is hung, it makes a nice bold statement on the wall.

RoomMates Gift idea- Mickey cropped

Personalized Wall Art

A cool spin on wall decals, give a custom wall decal for a gift that is really memorable. RoomMates custom wall decals offer the ability to personalize your own wall sticker. Use one of their premade templates and add your name or phrase. A great gift for any child, there is nothing that brings a room to life than a personalized peel and stick decal that says “Sasha’s Room.”  Like the wall décor line, customizable wall art is also removable and reusable!

RoomMates Gift idea- Personalized

Children receive so many toys. Consider a gift that is out of the box and fun! Remember wall décor is child friendly! We particularly like this kind of gift because of the application process! It is nice for the child to decorate together with an adult and be amazed by the peel and stick of the decal on the wall as they move it from wall to wall.

Consider something out of the box the next time you give a gift!

 

Jessica Toutsis

About Jessica Toutsis

Jessica Toutsis is the Digital Marketing Manager for Roommatesdecor.com is passionate about blogging, all things Web, and of course wall decals! Her expertise lies around content development, as well as SEO and social media and she frequently writes about home decor, re-purposing and home organization. To read more of Jessica’s blog posts, follow the RoomMates blog and add Jessica on Google+