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.

 

Should sofas be placed against the wall?

When arranging a living room, it’s often best to place the sofa first. Where will you put it? For years homeowners and renters have been setting up their sofas against the wall. It seems like such a natural spot! But there are designers who say that sofas should “float” and that placing one against the wall is a rookie mistake. So what’s the best arrangement? Well, that might depend on your preference and space.

Keep these considerations in mind when choosing the perfect spot for your sofa.

The room’s size

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

If you have a large, spacious living room, placing your sofa in the middle can keep the room from looking bare. A small living room, on the other hand, might appear larger with the sofa placed against the wall.

Your home’s layout

Photo Credit: Hemingway and Hepburn

Photo Credit: Hemingway and Hepburn

With open-floor layouts, it’s important that each room is clearly defined with furniture. If you don’t have walls separating rooms, float your sofa to create one. You can also use your sofa to create a clear walking path and direct traffic.

Living room activities

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Sofas can also be used to define areas within the living room. If you want to use one half of your room for movie watching and the other half as a game room for the kids, use your sofa to divide the two areas.

Wall decor

Photo credit: Home-Dzine

Photo credit: Home-Dzine

A long unadorned wall can cause a room to look incomplete. If your wall needs that something extra to keep it from looking bare, push your sofa against it. You can also float the sofa just a little bit off the wall for a similar effect.

Other living room furniture

Photo Credit: Cote de Texas

Photo Credit: Cote de Texas

Sometimes a sofa can look great both off and against the wall; if this is the case in your space, then its placement is a matter of personal preference. What is important, however, is that you don’t push all of your furniture against the wall. People often do this, not realizing that it looks uninviting to guests and makes conversing rather difficult.

What about you? Do you think sofas should be placed against the wall? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

A quick guide to sofa styles

I recently discovered that the terms “sofa” and “couch,” according to their original definitions, actually described two different pieces of furniture. Although very interesting, knowing the difference between a sofa and couch might not help you when buying furniture, as most people now use the two words interchangeably. What’s important to know instead are sofa styles. Here’s a quick guide that will help you when shopping online.

Camel back: These sofas have a “humped” back, which makes them easy to recognize. Camel-back sofas are usually found in traditional or contemporary homes due to their curved lines.

Inverted camel back

Lawson-style: If your top priority is comfort, a Lawson-style sofa might be your best choice. These sofas are unique because the back cushions are not attached to the frame.

Lawson Style Sofa

Chesterfield: Chesterfield sofas have a sophisticated style due to their tufted design and rolled arms. You’ll find them better suited for more formal environments, such as traditional homes.

Chesterfield Sofa

English: Also known as the “club sofa,” the English sofa has low, rolled arms that are hardly noticeable, which makes it great for casual homes.

English

Mid-century modern: If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, you’ve seen a Mid-century modern sofa. These sofas feature clean lines and simple forms.

Mid-century modern sofa

Settee: A settee looks more like a wide chair than it does a sofa. Although not the most comfortable choice, settees are beautifully elegant and fit in great with antique-style rooms.Settee

 

Chaise lounge: Go glam with a chaise lounge. These sofas either have one arm or none at all, and they are designed to allow people to relax and recline in style.

Chaise Lounge

Loveseat: Built just for two, a loveseat is a great choice for those who have small spaces or just need additional seating. Loveseats can come in various sofa styles, but are made smaller.

Loveseat

Sleeper sofa: If you don’t have a guest room but have company over often, a sleeper sofa might be worth considering. These sofas can be pulled out into a bed whenever you have overnight guests.

Sleeper

Sectional: Sectionals come in either L-shaped or U-shaped forms, and they are designed to provide you with more seating. They come in separate pieces, allowing you to rearrange based on your living room’s layout.

Sectional

By Wendy Weinert

Sofas, couches, davenports – What’s the difference?

I’m sure many of you grew up like I did thinking that sofas, couches and davenports were all the same thing. I’ve always thought they were synonyms you could use interchangeably and that certain regions in the U.S. preferred one word over the other, much like soda vs. pop. You can imagine my surprise, though, when I discovered that the words sofa, couch and davenport in fact have three separate meanings.

Couches

Fainting couch

Photo credit: South Shore Decorating Blog

Although invented prior to this time, couches became very popular in the Victorian era when they were referred to as a “fainting couch.” Couches during the Victorian period were usually armless and most often used by women wearing corsets who needed a resting place to catch their breath.

Sofas

Emerald Home Furnishings Grey Carleton Nail Head Sofa Sofa is said to have come from the Arabic term “suffah.” Originally, the word was used to describe a bench with arms and cushions. It was designed just for sitting, while the couch was created for both sitting and lying.

Davenports

Davenport

Photo credit: Spanish Hills

The word davenport actually describes a specific type of sofa, made by the manufacturing company A. H. Davenport and Company. Davenports were similar to futons, as they could be converted into a bed. Today it’s hard to tell the difference between a couch, sofa and davenport. While doing research, I came across numerous definitions and opinions that often contradicted each other. For example, some agree that sofas are more formal than couches and are mostly used for special occasions. Others say size matters and that sofas are typically larger than couches. The word davenport is often used to describe any sleeper-sofa, regardless of the manufacturing company. Additionally, many have decided that their former definitions no longer hold true and the three terms can be used interchangeably. What about you? Do you use the words couch, sofa and davenport to describe different pieces of furniture, or do you use one word over the others due to your upbringing? Tell us your story! By Wendy Weinert

3 ways to love your new studio apartment

Moving into a studio apartment might be a breath of fresh air for those looking to escape the roommate lifestyle. But for many, it’s a shocking change – especially those who like to live large. With the right attitude, some time and a few adjustments, I’ve found that it’s easy to love a small space. Here’s what to do so you can love yours.

Photo credit: homedit

Photo credit: homedit

Simplify

I know it’s hard to part ways with clothes and miscellaneous items that you’ve collected over the years, but getting rid of the things you don’t need is necessary (unless you didn’t have much stuff to begin with). People who don’t like their studio apartments often complain of clutter and little space. Simplifying will prevent you from becoming one of those people.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Hurry Home, Honey

Downsize

Do you really need a king bed and over-sized sofa, or could you do just fine with smaller alternatives? Downsize your furniture to match the size of your apartment. Not only will it provide more room, but the furniture will then be scaled more appropriately to the space.

Room divider

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Define

Much like an open floor plan (only much less spacious), studio apartments generally combine the dining area, entrance, living room and bedroom in one large room. Set up furniture and accessories strategically to create clearly defined areas. If you want some privacy in the bedroom area, I’ve found a decorative screen divider or a large shelving unit will make for a great “wall.”

You’ve always said you wanted to simplify and get organized and here’s your chance! You may need some time to adjust, but I’m sure you’ll soon come to love your new studio apartment.

By Wendy Weinert

Create a cozy reading nook in your home

Curling up with a good book in a cozy spot is a great way to spend a rainy day…or any type of day for that matter. While I can always get comfortable in bed or on the sofa, there’s something about a reading nook that I find luxurious and pleasant. It makes for a great reading experience, whether you prefer Jane Austin classics or are rushing to finish the Game of Thrones series. Try creating a reading nook in your own home with these five essentials. Trust me, you’ll never want to go back to reading in bed again.

1. A comfortable seat for lounging

Comfortable chair in reading nook

Photo credit: Lisa McDennon Design

The size and shape of your chair or bench will depend on your own reading preferences, but comfort is key. Without a comfortable seat, you’ll be forced to move right as you’re getting to the good part in the story!

2. Seclusion

Secluded Reading Nook with curtains

Photo credit: Pinterest

Reading in a secluded spot will help prevent distractions and make it easier for you to get lost in the book. Consider hanging up a stylish curtain to create an environment better suited for reading.

3. Proper lighting

Add light to your reading nook

Photo credit: Pinterest

Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain and headaches. If your nook is located directly by a window, you may not need much task lighting. Otherwise, consider installing a lamp, wall sconce or pendant light fixture.

4. Blankets

Reading nook with blankets

Photo credit: Pinterest

It doesn’t feel right to curl up without a blanket. In the summer, opt for a light blanket that you can use to feel cozy without becoming hot. Replace the blanket with a thicker alternative as the weather becomes chilly.

5. Shelving

Reading nook with shelving

Photo credit: Pinterest

A book shelf in your reading nook is convenient. It allows you to choose a book or switch authors without actually leaving the area.

There are a lot of different ways to design a reading nook, but these five essentials will ensure your space is comfortable and functional.

By Wendy Weinert

The tiny house movement: what it is and why it’s so popular

Tiny house

Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

Lately I’ve been hearing or reading a lot about “tiny houses” (also called “small houses”). It has made me curious, so I wanted to take the time to learn more about what these tiny houses are and why so many people are talking about them.

It seems that a tiny house is exactly what its name implies. Several sources define a tiny house as being less than 1,000 square feet, but that’s generous considering many who build or buy one choose to go as small as 400 square feet or less. Although the new trend is in no way taking over, the small house movement is growing in popularity; many Americans are now choosing to downsize or start their life in these tiny homes.

Floor plans of a tiny house

251 sq. ft. of living space
Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

The question is, “Why?” Why are people choosing to live their lives in such small spaces? Well, there are many reasons, but the biggest ones are because of financial concerns, environmental impact and the desire for freedom. Tiny homes are a much more affordable and sustainable living solution, and many people use them to travel. They are, after all, a much more comfortable way of moving from place to place than an RV.

Although I’m not ready to pack up my home and move into a tiny house just yet, I think there is a lot of good in the movement. It’s an adjustment for sure, but many creative architects and designers have managed to make their small houses feel open and even spacious. It’s all about choosing your furniture and accessories carefully. A futon, for example, can be a great substitute for a couch or sofa in one of these tiny houses, as they are typically smaller and serve a dual purpose. When decorating, look for accessories that make an impact so you can still enjoy style with less decor.

Kichler small ceiling fan

Perfect ceiling fan for a small space

 

What are your thoughts on the tiny house movement? Do you think you could live in such a limited space? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

 

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

 

The trend that’s here to stay: ombre and interior design

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

Photo credit: Etsy

Ombre became a popular trend on the runway last year and now the look can be seen everywhere, from hair styles to cake designs and even interior design. The word ombre describes when colors gradually fade into each other, usually from light to dark. For example, in fashion you might see an ombre skirt that starts white but gradually shifts shades into bright pink. This popular trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and it’s easy to see why. The look can be casual, sophisticated or simply fun depending on the colors you choose and the shading technique used. Here are some ideas for incorporating ombre into your own home’s interior design.

1. Paint the walls 

If you want to go bold, an ombre wall is the way to go. You may have to hire a professional to get the look just right, or you could also consider hanging up ombre wallpaper. If you like the dip-dye look but would rather make a subtle statement, start with a dark color of your choice on the bottom. Have it gradually change to a lighter shade within that same color family, rather than white.

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

2. Incorporate ombre with bedding or curtains

You might like ombre now, but if you think you’d only enjoy it for a year or two, try to incorporate the look into accessories that can be switched out easily, such as your curtains or bedspread. Decorating with trendy accessories allows you to keep your home up to date on all of the latest styles.

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

3. Update your furniture

Even furniture can feature the ombre style. Add a new chair in the living room that features the dip-dye style or give an old dresser new life by following this fun DIY ombre project.

Ombre may be the latest craze, but it doesn’t look like it’s going out of style anytime soon. Use any of these ideas to freshen up your home with ombre and give your space a new look!

By Wendy Weinert