Prepare your home for back to school with these 5 ideas

School’s almost in session! Now’s the time to start preparing your home for another busy year. Here are five ways you can organize and set up your home for back-to-school success.

1. Create a homework nook

Click on the picture to see how this desk flips open.

A dedicated study area can help your student stay focused at home, but you don’t have to turn an entire room into a homework station. I’ve found that an unused hallway space or room corner can be the perfect spot. Be sure to provide essentials like task lighting, counter space and a comfortable chair.

2. Seek out smarter storage solutionsdoor organizer

Trying to streamline your morning routine? Start with organization. A hanging shoe organizer in the closet, a storage bench in the mudroom and additional shelves in the bathroom can improve efficiency and help you and your kids easily find personal items in the morning.

3. Rethink bedroom designsblue bedroom

Quality sleep is essential for studying and feeling energized. Consider whether your kids’ bedrooms are designed to promote healthy sleep. An uncomfortable mattress, electronics in the bedroom and even the wrong color palette can reduce sleep quality. According to a study published in the Daily Mail, blue and yellow are the best colors for sleep, while purple is the worst.

4. Have a designated spot for your keys

I can’t count the number of times I have been late because of a lost set of keys. To prevent this from happening to you, pick a designated spot for your keys, such as a hook on the wall.

5. Create a centralized calendarcalendar dry erase

With so many activities, events, doctor appointments and social engagements going on during the school year, you’re going to need a system to keep all of the schedules straight. Hang a centralized calendar in the kitchen, one that has big enough squares so you can write down several reminders for the same day.

School will be here before you know it. Start off the year right with a few organizational and design changes in your home.

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 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Your home is a place that provides comfort and relaxation, especially at the end of a busy and stressful day. This is why its interiors should be designed not only to bring out your personality, but also to evoke coziness that can help alleviate the day’s worries. A rustic design is a great way to achieve this, as it brings the simplicity and beauty of the outdoors inside your home.

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Photo credit: Brandi Pound

Below are some ideas that can help you achieve a rustic look and feel to your home.

1. Choose a color theme

Start by selecting a color theme to ensure coordination of your home décor and design. Often, the rustic looks borrows earthy tones that remind you of nature. Brown, green, tan, rust, and gray are perfect base tones that you can accentuate with shades of caramel and cream. The perfect combination of colors helps to present the design, and can fill a space with warmth.

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Photo credit: Antiques on Old Plank Road

2. Use wood

What better way to bring the outdoors in than by using wood? Whether it is wooden floors, wooden walls, or antique furniture, wood is an important element in achieving a rustic design. Having an important piece of antique wood furniture can also serve as the focal point in any given room, thus bringing about that rustic style that you’re aiming for.

3. Add texture

Equally important to the color of any given wall or furniture is the texture. The right texture used on the right surface can provide varying visual effects. Utilizing paint effects and different layers of fabrics and finishing are a great way to add texture to your living space. This can surely help you achieve that outdoorsy look and feel in your home.

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Photo credit: Ant & Carrie’s photos via Foter cc

4. Choose floor material wisely

Pay attention to the type of material used for your floor. Ideally, opt for stone or timber. Hardwood floors are attractive as well, and the look can be accentuated with the right kind of rugs.

5. Accessorize

Interesting accessories can greatly enhance any type of home or room design, and can add that unique sense of individuality any homeowner wants to show off. This can be achieved by using furniture and knick-knacks such as old grandfather clocks and vintage vases. Soften hardwood or stone floors by using woven rugs of interesting design and color. For curtains and furniture covers, use fabrics that can add more depth and character. Patchwork quilts work great for rustic home designs and can be used in a variety of ways.

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Photo credit: Ryan Tansey via Foter cc

As more and more people are on the lookout for ways to improve their quality of life and living, going back to basics is a great direction in more ways than one. Rustic-styled homes are just one of the many ways to incorporate the vibrance of nature into our daily lives. With proper planning, a rustic-styled home can be obtained quite easily through the perfect balance of the outdoors and your own personal style.

 

About the author: Angie Cole is a fan of everything vintage and admires true old-world craftsmanship. She is a fan of Antiques on Old Plank Road, a furniture shop that imports and restores European quality antique and vintage pieces.

By Angie Cole

5 home office decorating blunders to avoid

5 home office decorating blunders to avoid

Photo credit: The Design Files

An effective work space is attractive, organized and comfortable. Whether you work from home every day or just occasionally on nights and weekends, your home office should be designed to boost productivity. Avoid these five home office decorating blunders when setting up your space so you can work from home without getting distracted or uncomfortable.

5 home office decorating blunders to avoid

1. Choosing a stylish, but uncomfortable chair

If you plant to sit in your office chair for hours during the day, it’s necessary to choose a chair that is not only attractive, but also offers comfort. Look for an office chair that is adjustable, supportive, has armrests and, most importantly, comfortable cushions.

5 home office decorating blunders to avoid

2. Selecting the wrong-size desk

Before you start searching for an office desk, think carefully about how much surface space you’ll need. Are you strictly going to be working on your laptop? Or do you need space to write on papers as well? Knowing what you need from a desk beforehand will help you select the right size.

5 home office decorating blunders to avoid

3. Using overhead lighting…and nothing else

Your space is small, so installing an overhead light is good enough, right? Not exactly. You’ll also want to choose a lamp to illuminate your desk area, or you could consider track lighting or under-cabinet lighting, too. Without the proper lighting, you could strain your eyes or get headaches.

5 home office decorating blunders to avoid

4. Forgetting about storage

As time goes on, your home office is going to become more and more cluttered. You can get organized, however, if you choose furniture that has ample storage space. Everyone has different storage needs, but you might want to consider a combination of desk drawers, file cabinets and shelves.

5 home office decorating blunders to avoid

Photo credit: Coco + Kelley

5. Skimping on color and décor

When setting up a home office, many homeowners assume that decorating their office will only invite distraction while working. A desk plant and hanging artwork, however, can actually make an office feel inviting, warm and more comfortable. Just be careful not to overdo it as you don’t want to clutter your office.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can create a more effective workspace and become more productive at home.

By Wendy Weinert

How to decorate a space with white walls

How to decorate a space with white walls

Photo credit: Vosgesparis

When it comes to interior design, white walls are often misunderstood. People tend to think of them as dull, when really they can be used to create an elegant or lively space. The key to designing such a space is knowing how to work with your white walls effectively. Whether you’re stuck with white walls as a renter or you’re simply ready to try something new, these three decorating ideas will help you design a space you’ll love.

How to decorate a space with white walls

Photo credit: My Scandinavian Home

Contrast white walls with bright colors

White walls don’t have to be boring if you incorporate bright colors throughout the room. Instead of relying on your walls to create a colorful space, decorate using bold colors with high contrast and make the room pop. How you choose to add color is up to you. Furniture, rugs, curtains, light fixtures, wall art and pillows can all make an impact.

Decorate an all-white space

Use white walls to your advantage and take the look even further by creating an all-white room. When done correctly, all-white spaces are elegant and refreshing. To keep your all-white room from looking flat, use various shades of white throughout the room and rely heavily on texture to create depth. After a stressful or hectic day, an all-white room will feel soothing and help you to relax.

How to decorate a space with white walls

Bellacor Number: 545681

Use white walls as backdrop for artwork

If you love art or often create your own, use a white wall as a backdrop for your favorite pieces and create a gallery in your space. A white gallery wall is perfect because you have more flexibility when choosing artwork to hang. With a white backdrop, you don’t have to worry about colors clashing or overwhelming the room with too many.

White walls should be embraced, not dreaded. Try working with your white walls by using one of these decorating ideas, and you might find you actually prefer them.

By Wendy Weinert

How to clean and care for your chandelier

How to clean and care for your chandelier

Chandeliers can be a stunning addition to your space, but without regular cleaning they can quickly become dull and dirty. When guests come over, you want them to notice the beautiful crystals and elegant design of your chandelier, not that it has collected numerous cobwebs and a lot of dust. Learn how to properly clean your chandelier and allow its beauty to shine.

How to clean and care for your chandelier

There are many chandelier cleaning products that people can buy, but these special formulas are actually harmful to your chandelier’s frame and can cause your crystals to become cloudy. When cleaning your light fixture, all you need are white cotton gloves and possibly some warm water. Using products that contain chemicals, such as glass cleaners or even soap, can tarnish the metallic coatings and defeat the purpose of cleaning your chandelier in the first place.

Before cleaning, make sure to turn the light off. Then you can dust the chandelier and remove any cobwebs that have formed using your cotton glove. A cotton cloth also works, but be sure not to touch the crystals with your hands, as they could leave fingerprints. If the crystals are extremely dirty and dusting with cotton gloves doesn’t do the trick, remove the crystals from the frame and use warm water. After wiping with a damp cloth, be sure to dry the crystals immediately.

How often you need to clean your chandelier will depend on the room and the fixture. Pay attention to the way your chandelier looks right after it has been cleaned so that you’re more likely to notice when it’s dirty. A quick clean now and then will keep your chandelier shining bright and your overall space looking great.

By Wendy Weinert

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

Setting up a living space is no easy feat, so it’s better to create a space that you’ll love for a long time as opposed to redecorating frequently. When decorating your home, keep these four tips in mind to create a space that stands the test of time:

1. Seek out quality furniture

Everyone wants to save money, but buying low-quality, cheap furniture will actually cost you more money in the long run. Higher-quality products last longer, which means you can enjoy their great style and functionality for years.

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

2. Don’t overspend on trendy products

The trendy accessories that you love might be in style now, but what about a year from now? It’s okay to keep up with the trends and incorporate what’s “in” at the moment into your home’s design, but be careful of overspending on products that you will only use for a short period of time. Save your money for a beautiful piece of wall art or a stunning light fixture instead.

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

3. Tell your story with design

Take a page out of interior designer Diego Rincon’s book and fill your home with meaningful items that share your story and personality. For example, you can display souvenirs or decorative items that you’ve acquired while traveling. Antique items that have been passed down in the family can also make great décor for your home.

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

Photo credit: Amanda Nisbet Design

4. Find ways to make easy, temporary changes

No matter how much you love the look of your space, there may come a time when you feel ready for a change. Instead of redecorating an entire room, however, you can make simple changes that will save you time, money and stress. When you’re craving color, hang up bright wallpaper on one or more of your walls. When the seasons change, switch out your smaller accessories like accent pillows and curtains for items that are more suitable. Small changes can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of a room.

People should feel happy in their home environment. Create space that you can love for years with these four tips in mind.

By Wendy Weinert

Spring cleaning challenge: 3 steps for decluttering your space

Spring cleaning challenge: 3 steps for decluttering your space

If you’ve been vigorously cleaning your home this past week, you’re not alone. Many homeowners do an annual spring cleaning to refresh their space and get ready for the new season. While spring cleaning usually involves dusting off all those hard to reach surfaces that one tends to skip over, it’s also about getting organized. Over the years, we tend to collect more and more stuff, but rarely do we throw anything out. Well, now is the perfect time to declutter your space and get rid of the junk that’s been causing you stress. Here’s what to do.

Spring cleaning challenge: 3 steps for decluttering your space

Photo credit: Hi Sugarplum!

1. Identify common clutter zones

Where do you keep your clutter? Common places include closets, drawers and cupboards, but you might identify other areas specific to your home. Go room to room and determine which areas that can be sorted and organized. For example, if you haven’t gotten rid of any clothes in years, you should sort through all of the closets and drawers that hold your wardrobe. In the kitchen, it’s a good idea to organize the refrigerator and kitchen pantry.

Spring cleaning challenge: 3 steps for decluttering your space

Photo credit: BHG

2. Sort out what should be kept, thrown out, donated or sold

Sometimes it’s obvious what you should throw out – like that expired ketchup bottle in the fridge. Other times you’ll have to spend time considering what the best option is. If you’re struggling to part with an item, such as a board game or a blender, ask yourself, “When is the last time I actually used this?” Can’t remember? Then it might be time to get rid of it. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling your things, then donating is always a good option. Unless of course you’re dealing with broken items – then just throw them out.

3. Just get rid of it!

Don’t let piles of bags accumulate in your home. That defeats the purpose of decluttering! Take action right away, because the sooner you get all of your stuff donated, sold or thrown out, the sooner you can finally live and relax in an organized and clutter-free zone.

By Wendy Weinert