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+

How to create a welcoming porch

I don’t know about you, but I want my home to feel welcoming to guests. A welcoming home means that friends and family will feel more comfortable during a visit and may even mean that they will be anticipating their next stay! While every room in the home can be decorated to feel inviting, the best place to start is actually outside, since the front porch is the first “room” guests will see. Here are some of my favorite ideas for welcoming guests into a home:

Porch_Livingroomset_Club-4

Offer a seat

I like to think of the front porch as being an outdoor living room, where you can socialize with close friends and family while enjoying the nice weather. A porch swing is a popular choice for kids and adults alike, but if your space isn’t big enough you can also seat guests on a smaller patio chair.

 

porch blog- rug

Photo credit: Pinterest

Make it cozy with a rug

A rug instantly makes any room I’m in feel more cozy. You probably use a rug to cozy up the living room, so why not do the same for the front porch? A welcome mat can also look inviting, especially if you’re working with limited space.

 

porch blog- lighting 2

Photo credit: Pinterest

Add light for nighttime

It’s hard to create a welcoming vibe when your front porch is completely dark. Plus, evenings are often the best time to enjoy a front porch – when the weather isn’t so hot. Try using a couple of outdoor wall lights to invite guests outdoors.

 

porch blog- painted door

Photo credit: Pinterest

Paint the door

You don’t have to paint the front door to make it welcoming, but I love the idea of a a bright-colored door! If you have a small front porch, this can be an easy way to add color and style without cluttering the area.

 

porch blog- final touches

Photo credit: Pinterest

Complete the look with a few final touches

A couple of potted plants, a few accent pillows on your swinging chair and a hanging sign on the door – these types of finishing touches are perfect for tying the welcoming look together.

Does your front porch invite people into your home? If not, try out a few of these welcoming ideas!

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

 

5 home Feng Shui tips to create positive energy

5 Feng Shui elements

Photo credit: Free People blog

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that has made its way into Western interior design. When using Feng Shui, the goal is to design a home that aligns with who you are as a person. It is also a way to ensure a space allows your energy (or “chi”) to remain positive and constant. And who doesn’t want that?

You don’t have to be a Feng Shui expert to apply some of its principles in the home. I’ve gathered five easy tips that even beginners can use!

1. Get rid of the clutter

We’re all guilty of creating clutter now and then – I know I am. Living in a cluttered home can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. An easy way to keep the junk from piling up is to do a quick de-clutter session once a week.

Decluttered Living room

2. Ensure quality lighting

Dim lighting can drain our energy, so make sure each room has the right amount of light. For me, the best source of light is natural light. Installing various light sources is necessary, of course, so you can have light  during evenings or in rooms without big windows.

Natural light is the best source of light

Photo credit: Home Adore

3. Keep electronics out of the bedroom

This is hard, I know, but quality sleep and relaxation is essential for creating good energy. Not only does a TV or computer in the room tempt you to stay up later than planned, but electronics can also diminish your quality of sleep.

Keep electronics out of the bedroom4. Let nature in

Nature is soothing and the five elements of Feng Shui (wood, earth, fire, water and metal) have a lot to do with the outdoors. Wooden furniture pieces, plants and an indoor water fountain are all great ways to add nature to your home.

Bring nature inside

5. Choose colors carefully

In Feng Shui, colors are important. For example, if I want a room to be relaxing, I could use the color blue to create a sense of calm. Here is a useful guide I found for choosing colors in Feng Shui.

Feng Shui Color

Photo credit: Know Feng Shui

After applying some of these basic Feng Shui techniques, you might start to notice a change in how you feel at home. Feng Shui can help you feel happier, relaxed and more energized.

By Wendy Weinert

 

Decorating your space from start to finish

Decorating a room mostly from scratch grants you the opportunity to create a space that will meet all of your style preferences. It also provides a good reason to feel a little overwhelmed and start looking for help. When a space is yours to put together, knowing where to start and which elements you should decide on first will smooth out the process and ensure you don’t regret the finished result.

Decorating your space from start to finish

So where should you begin the decorating process? The best place to start is with the expensive elements that are rarely replaced, if ever, such as the flooring or countertops. Choose materials and colors that will fit in with a variety of design schemes so you can create a timeless structure for your home. It’s easy to replace a lamp, but installing new flooring is a whole different story.

Decorating your space from start to finish

After the basic structure of the room has been decided, move on to big pieces of furniture such as the bed or sofa. Being larger furniture, they have a lot of impact on the overall look of your room and will help provide guidance as you move along to the accessories and smaller furniture pieces.

Decorating your space from start to finish

With the main elements of your room’s setup established, you can start filling the room with smaller furnishings and decorative accessories. While you can choose to decorate your space in a timeless style, you can also decide to have a little fun in this part of the process by incorporating trendy or bold items. They’re more affordable and less difficult to replace.

Decorating your space from start to finish

You may have noticed that paint and wallpaper were not mentioned. That’s because you can decide on them whenever you want during the decorating process. You can either choose a color of paint or wallpaper print when setting up the structure of the room, and then choose furnishings to match. Or you can let the room come together and then find the appropriate wall decor to complement the room’s design.

Decorate a room you’ll love for years with this start-to-finish guide. Even if you choose to redecorate later on, you’ll still have a neutral structure to work with and fewer design decisions to make.

By Wendy Weinert

Biggest Interior Designers of 2014

Like many people interested in interior design, I often browse the Internet for inspiration. One of my favorite things to do is view the portfolios of designers across the globe. It’s fun to look at the contrast of styles and the unique looks of mixing colors, patterns, and elements. As I look through photos, one thing is always obvious: Interior designers are not created equal. There are many that I dream will come into my home and add their spark of ingenuity to my walls — but others, well, I don’t think I would let them in the home of my worst enemy. They are that bad. Interior design is complex and is much more than just a bucket of paint, two lamps, and a couch. It is everything from the rug on the floor to the lights on the ceiling, and some designers have turned interior design into an art. While there are thousands of great designers across the country, there are a handful who are in a category of their own. Here are the five biggest interior designers of 2014.

Photo by Phil Manker (Flickr)

Photo by Phil Manker (Flickr)

Victoria Hagan

Victoria Hagan is a modern designer who adds a touch of cerebral atmosphere with classy furniture. While most modern rooms often feel cold and clinical, she uses colors and furniture to create warmth. She is described by The New York Times as “the most cerebral, the one bound to be influential” — it is obvious that her work is inspiring. I dream of sitting in one of her rooms and relaxing as I breathe in the freshness her style brings.

Steven Gambrel

Since I’m someone who loves bright colors in my home, Steven Gambrel is my personal favorite, and I am not the only one who thinks that. People adore his brave looks of adding emerald greens, deep blues, and even bright pinks into a room. He mixes colors, patterns, and fabrics in ways that only he can make look good. While his style focus is on high-gloss urbane and soigné country, he has the skills to attack any project.

Waldo Fernandez

As a favorite to Hollywood stars, Fernandez is a Danish Modern designer who takes the modern look to another level. His own style is recognized by his touch of natural woods combined with calming, neutral colors. His rooms are very laid-back with a hint of luxury laced throughout. I would love to curl up in a chair, read a book, and bask in the warmth of one of his rooms.

Robert Couturier

This designer has a style of his own and creates rooms that are unique to each of his clients. His work is so interesting to me, as he combines many styles for an eccentric and eclectic look. Every room is filled with patterns, unique lights, custom furniture, elegant curtains, and mind-blowing artwork. The time and energy he puts into every room is obvious in the details found on the walls, floors, ceiling, windows, and furniture.

Jeffrey Bilhuber

While he doesn’t focus on one particular style, his rooms all have a definite “Bilhuber” look. He takes a realistic approach and ensures that comfort and tailored class roll into the room together. People adore his style, which is filled with organization, warm colors, and unique furniture. A brief look through his photos makes it obvious why so many people are lining up for the opportunity to work with him. Interior designing is a skill that many seek but few achieve, and Bihuber is one of those designers who breathe success.

By Wendy Weinert

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

After months of cold weather and snow, spring has finally arrived, and soon you can put that outdoor patio space to good use. Outdoor patios are the perfect place for entertaining during the warm spring and summer months – all you need is the right furniture, décor and these three helpful tips:

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

1. Arrange your space to match the occasion

Will your patio be used for afternoon cook-outs or for sophisticated dinners during the evening? Maybe your outdoor space will be a place where friends and family can simply gather for conversation and to enjoy the sunshine. Before you start browsing patio furniture, consider the different ways you might use your outdoor space so you can create a comfortable environment to match the style of entertaining you prefer.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: Kate Byer Interior Design

2. Don’t forget about the lighting

While the sun can light up your space during the day, you’ll need outdoor lighting for evening entertaining so your guests can see each other! Make sure to set up the proper outdoor lighting so you can use your patio any time of the day. If you don’t have an outdoor electrical outlet, solar or candle-filled lanterns will also do the trick.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

3. Add comfort with decorative pillows

Let’s face it – outdoor patio furniture is never going to be as comfortable as that plush sofa in your living room. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to suffer hard chairs or benches. Use accent pillows for décor and to add comfort around the outdoor patio area. You can even use a large pillow as an extra seat if you run out of chairs!

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: La Dolce Vita

4. Make the most of the space you have

If your patio is small, simply work with what you have and find ways to maximize your space. For example, you can set up furniture around the perimeter of your space to provide room for movement and mingling. If your space is primarily for conversation, simply bunch furniture closer together to create a more intimate and cozy experience.

Don’t let the warm weather go to waste. With these tips in mind, you can set up your outdoor patio and enjoy months of entertaining fun!

By Wendy Weinert

Interior Design Trend: Winter Whites

It is always fun to look back over the years and think about the drastic changes in style. I remember years ago, when plain white walls were in. My dad was an artist, so not only were our walls always painted several different shades, but colorful murals filled with intricate details were displayed within our home. My friend’s family kept up with the white trend, and I secretly wished our walls and ceilings were a crisp white, too. Soon, the style changed, and the whites were painted over with rich, dark colors. Bright, bold colors were painted in stripes and fun designs in rooms, and I eagerly bought my own gallons of paint to create a fun style in my own home. But while browsing the Internet and some of my favorite magazines more recently, I quickly noticed the wall colors changing again. Softer colors emerged, and soon, walls, ceilings, cabinets, moldings, and décor were beginning to return to a crisp white. I am happy to say that the same color I craved so many years ago is back! Here is where you can find the winter white design trend within your home.

Photo by Solveig Osk (Flickr)

Photo by Solveig Osk (Flickr)

White Cabinets

The look of wood holds something of value to a kitchen, but wood stains are consistently going out of style at a fast pace. Cabinets aren’t cheap, and painting over your wood can save you thousands of dollars in remodelling costs. With the popularity of DIY projects, people are tackling the kitchen on their own, making white cabinetry more popular than ever.

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