6 essentials for craft room creativity

Craft room

Having an entire room or area dedicated to crafts might seem unnecessary to some, but those people probably aren’t spending their afternoons or evenings working on Pinterest DIY projects. Crafting can get messy and often requires using many supplies that, when put away, occupy a lot of space. Consider setting up a craft space in your home and keep these essentials in mind when putting it together.

Surface space
Large crafting table

Photo credit: Everything Etsy

Almost every project you take on will require a table for surface space. Make sure the table you choose is large enough to accommodate you and your project – a small side table isn’t going to cut it.

Storage space
Craft room storage

Photo credit: 44th Street Fabric

Like I said before, crafting can get messy. You can make the process a little more organized, however, by keeping the supplies you don’t need for a certain project stored away. Storage space will also ensure that your craft room will be tidy when it’s not in use. Shelves, drawers and boxes can all come in handy.

Inspiration
Wall art as craft room inspiration

Photo credit: Blog de decoração Perfeita Ordem

A creative environment is important. After all, this is a craft room! Hang up artwork that inspires you and will help you get in touch with your inner artist. A little creative touch can be just what you need to produce your best work.

Music

Music can also help boost your creative mood. Create a playlist with music that helps you feel most inspired, whether it’s jazz, pop, rock or classical music. Not only will you feel more creative, but music also makes crafting more fun!

Great lighting

Any work space, whether it’s a craft room or a home office, requires excellent lighting. Along with general overhead lighting, try wall sconces, a pendant or a lamp next to your table for task lighting.

A comfortable chair
Comfortable craft chair

Photo credit: Pinterest

You might not be sitting down for eight hours like you do at work, but it’s still important that your craft chair is comfortable. Look for chairs with padded seats and a supportive frame so you can craft without feeling sore.

There are many ways to create a craft room. As long as you have a table surface, storage space, a comfy seat and some inspiration, you can easily get in touch with your creative side and get to work!

By Wendy Weinert

 

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

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

Pet-friendly decorating tips for a home you and your furry friend will love

Parents are always aware of their young one’s safety and comfort, and they also consider their kid’s messy habits before picking out new furniture and decor. The same strategy can be applied to pets, too, and I know many of you think of them as family, too. By remembering your furry friend when decorating, you can design a home that is comfortable for both of you and still be able to enjoy a stylish space. These pet-friendly decorating tips will help get you started.

1. Opt for rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpet

Carpet traps bad odors and hair, making it hard to keep it clean. Rugs, on the other hand, are easier to clean and much less expensive to replace. Natural-fiber rugs like sisal are affordable and more durable than synthetic materials.

Natural Fiber Rugs

Photo credit: Bryn Alexandra

2. Set up a space just for them

I know pets aren’t people, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy having space to themselves. Everyone in the home has a bedroom, so set up a small area in a room of your choice where a dog or cat can go to eat, sleep and play.

Pet's Area

Photo credit: Room Service – Decorating 101

3. Choose comfortable and stylish bedding

Animals love their naps. Give your pets the comfort they deserve with a plush bed made just for them. With so many options available today, you won’t have any trouble finding a bed that is both comfortable and stylish to match your home’s decor.

Dog bed

Photo credit: Etsy

4. Match upholstery to your pet’s fur color

Your puppy is cute, but he sheds a lot. The next time you’re searching for a new sofa or chair, try matching the upholstery to his fur color. It won’t solve the shedding problem, but it might help hide some of the hair so it isn’t too visible to guests.

5. Choose plants carefully

Certain plants are poisonous to animals, so make sure the plants you bring inside won’t hurt your pet. Learn which plants are toxic to animals here.

Your pet is family — there’s no question about it. Follow these pet-friendly decorating tips to offer your family a comfortable and safe place to live.

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

 

Decorating with renewable resources: Why bamboo is good for the home

Green Bamboo

I love the concept of decorating my home to mimic the outdoors. Bringing nature inside is a great way to create an environment that can be both soothing and energizing. Designing a nature-inspired home allows me the opportunity to consider using natural materials. I’ve taken an interest in learning more about what we as homeowners can do to design a stylish space while lessening our environmental impact. And one solution I’ve found is to seek out materials that are sustainable and defined as renewable resources. Bamboo, for example, is a renewable resource that can be used to create eco-friendly furniture, light fixtures, accessories and even linens. Plus it’s stylish, so why wouldn’t I want to consider it for my home?

Bedvoyage Bamboo Bedding

Bedvoyage bamboo bedding

As I began researching more about the benefits of using bamboo, I found that it’s a great alternative to many of the materials we use today. Bamboo grows very quickly and requires little maintenance – some species grow more than a yard in just 24 hours! Plus, if harvested from bamboo farms, animals such as the panda who rely on bamboo for food are not negatively affected, while local communities are positively affected as they can build a better economy for themselves.

Fanimation Islander Ceiling Fan

Fanimation Islander ceiling fan

Wood from trees is natural, but many trees are not as renewable as bamboo. Using bamboo as an alternative to wood from other trees makes a lot of sense, because the plant is just as strong but it doesn’t take years to grow back. It also can be a great alternative to metal and plastic, which are much more challenging and time-investive to manufacture.

Neu Home Bamboo bowl by Organize It All

Neu Home Bamboo bowl by Organize It All

With so many positive reasons to use bamboo and renewable resources in general, it’s hard for me even to consider anything else! I encourage you to make the switch as well when seeking out new furniture and home decor accessories. While you may not always be able to choose a natural material or a renewable resource, making the effort where you can is the first step toward making a difference.

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

Lighten Up This Summer

Although home design evolves at a more leisurely pace than runway fashion, the 2014 Dallas Lighting Market tradeshow revealed an array of trends that mean big changes for the year ahead. And what better time than now—a season of renewal—to refresh your abode with cutting-edge lighting products and accessories? This season, be on the lookout for innovative technology and materials, new takes on tradition and playful explorations of scale and detail. Whether your home has a contemporary, transitional or traditional vibe, you’ll discover a wealth of on-trend luminaires for every style of décor. Check out some of our new favorites:

1. HAUTE TECH No longer the rising indie star, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are gaining mainstream super-fame as more lighting manufacturers start building elegant fixtures around the high-tech, energy-efficient module. Small-scale LEDs make it possible for designers to go beyond the boundaries of incandescent lamping in pursuit of sophisticated luminaires that provide illumination in ways that weren’t possible until now. Sonneman - Chromaglo Square Pendant   Consider Robert Sonneman’s Chromaglo Square Reflector LED Pendant, which simultaneously directs light downward from one LED source and upward from another, creating a balance of ambient and task illumination.   ALR-5563-DBRZ-INSTAL Justice Design Group’s Fusion Framed Rectangle LED Wall Sconce with dimmable LED is another great option. A bathroom-friendly wall fixture, it exudes warm light, dims down to 5%, and is rated for a seemingly infinite 50,000 hours. (Remember replacing burned-out bulbs? So 20th century.)

COMING SOON: After 30 years in the fan industry, Fanimation Fans is taking a new twist on technology with the launch of fanLink a universal ceiling fan remote control with Bluetooth capability that lets you control your fan(s) right from your smartphone. Once you take it for a spin, we suspect you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Sonneman 16-light

Taking cues from mid-1960s artists ranging from George Segal to Laddie John Dill, lighting designers are transforming plexiglass, acrylic and other future-forward materials to create shapes and effects that are inconceivable with glass. Fusing LED-technology with intricate geometric compositions of white etched or clear crystal acrylic, Sonneman’s 16-Light Lattice Square Pendant is nothing less than a modern lighting masterpiece.

2. METAL MANIA The Industrial Revolution may be long gone, but its legend lives on large, turn-of-the-century industrial-style warehouse lights, smaller sconces and swing-arm lights. Hudson Valley Lighting’s Pelham collection fuses proto-contemporary lines with machine-age details to provide distinctive downlighting for kitchen islands, dining rooms and other spaces. Plus, it’s available in rich finishes, ranging from bold Aged Brass to smooth Satin Nickel, to complement a variety of interiors. Although Bitcoin dominated the buzz online, the gold standard prevails offline in luxe aged and hand-rubbed brass tones. Hudson Valley Lighting exercises the Midas touch with the retro-inspired Ashland flush mount fixture and the fanciful Amenia semi-flush mount—note its unique ring-and-rod suspension. Calais-CMYK And if you’re seeking a gilty pleasure, pun intended, the Calais Chandelier from Troy Lighting was meant for you. A combination of hand-crafted aged wood and distressed gold leaf, it adds just the right amount casual opulence to a spring makeover. 3. BOLD SCHOOL More is more, and these distinctive styles prove it through a convergence of big ideas and intricate details. Dolcetti Corbett Lighting’s award-winning Dolcetti collection features exotic shells, shimmering crystals and steel accents. Vertigo And its Vertigo family—dramatic spirals of hand-crafted iron—is designed to leave you dizzy in the best possible way. But even when Corbett minimizes the scale, they amp up the glamour. The Barcelona Silver and Gold Leaf Mini Pendant shimmers with the intensity of jewelry fashioned by a master, and it’s so fabulously ornamental, it becomes makes an undeniable statement. As a perennial industry innovator, Varaluz has acquired legendary status for eclectic designs, recycled content and unsurpassed hand-craftsmanship. With the introduction of the Wright Stuff Chandelier, Varaluz takes a simple concept (early aeroplanes) and elevates it sky-high. Flow And their new Flow collection unites rhythmic and organic shapes with two-tone finishes, creating a sense of fluid motion, even in stillness. A BRIGHTER EVERYDAY There’s nothing like new lighting to transform the way you see your home—and the way others see it, too. Explore these emerging technologies and innovative trends to find new ways to brighten up your home and your life. By Wendy Weinert