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

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

Summer staycation ideas for a relaxing break at home

Sometimes the best vacations are spent at home. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to go out and see new places. But, I always come back home exhausted from all of the sightseeing and activities. Don’t you? When I’m looking to just take a break from work and relax, a staycation sounds much more enjoyable. You don’t have to spend time driving, waiting in line at the airport or trying to read maps. You can just sit back, relax and enjoy your week.

Plan your own staycation this summer and go back to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Here are some ideas to get you inspired.

1. Add a front porch swing 

Porch swing

Photo credit: Midwest Living

You won’t want to spend all of your time indoors, especially in the summer. A front porch swing is a small investment that will allow you to create a relaxing environment outside for your staycation, and for spring, summer and fall as well.

2. Organize your home before the vacation starts

Organized pantry

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

It’s hard to relax when your house is a mess. Believe me, I know. Plus, there’s a reason why hotel rooms often feel so refreshing. They’re not cluttered. As your staycation approaches, take some time to make sure everything is in order. You’ll be able to enjoy your week much more fully if you do.

3. Take your coffee outside

Coffee on the porch

Photo credit: Pinterest

Instead of chugging a cup of coffee like you normally do on mornings before work, take it outside and allow yourself to enjoy it on your porch swing or patio. Mornings are the perfect time to spend outdoors because the weather isn’t unbearably hot yet.

4. Refrain from checking emails

If you absolutely have to check your email throughout the week, set aside a time each day where you can check it…and then forget about it the rest of the day. It’s also a good idea to turn your phone on silent, and call or text only when catching up with old friends or ordering food.

Let yourself take a break this summer and take a staycation. A week at home with no errands or work to do is the perfect way to enjoy the summer and rejuvenate.

By Wendy Weinert

Backyard camping: enjoy the great outdoors without leaving home

Backyard camping

Photo credit: Pinterest

Camping is one of my favorite summer activities, but sometimes it’s hard to set aside a week or even just a weekend to get away. That’s why I love the idea of backyard camping. It gives families the opportunity to spend time outdoors and bond. Plus, staying close to home is often recommended for young children who are not ready for the full camping experience.

Backyard camping seems like a simple concept, but there are some strategies you can use to create an experience that is similar to an actual camping trip. For example, you can:

Set up a tent

Backyard camping

Photo credit: Daily Mail

Okay, I know it seems silly to sleep outdoors when you have comfortable beds inside waiting for you. However, your backyard excursion will feel more like a bonfire than an authentic camping trip if you head inside after the fire dies down.

Design a sitting area

Seating area next to camp

Polywood Adirondack Chairs

Most campsites have benches for dining and generally people bring their own chairs. Set up your backyard to mimic an actual campsite by arranging outdoor chairs and tables near the tent area.

Install a fire pit

Fire pit

Firescapes Fire Pit

In my opinion, it’s not camping without a fire and s’mores. If you don’t already have one, consider adding a fire pit to your backyard space; you can use it all summer long! On chillier nights, make sure you have extra blankets for sitting around the fire!

Add a sprinkler

If you live within walking distance of a lake or ocean, head out for a swim in the afternoon. Otherwise, a sprinkler can add a splash of fun for the kids (and the adults).

Keep technology indoors

Phones and laptops are hard to leave behind — believe me, I know. Camping, however, is all about taking a break from technology and connecting with nature. While you might not have a forest in your backyard, you can at least enjoy the sunshine and breeze without having to check your cell every five minutes.

Roasting marshmallows

Photo credit: Pinterest

Are you ready to roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories? A simple camping trip in your backyard can be a special memory you and your family will cherish for years.

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

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

 

How to Revamp Your Kitchen For Under 100 bucks

Photo by Sitka Projects (Flickr)

I love remodeling from the ground up, and kitchens make the biggest impact on a home when done right. With new cabinets, granite counters, updated appliances, heated floors, and a tile backsplash, your kitchen will be what all the neighbors are jealously talking about. The only problem is the price tag. Ugh! I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t afford to do all of that! But don’t start sweating or crying angry tears — you can still update your kitchen with a little elbow grease and love. For only $100, you can revamp your kitchen in these ten ways.

Cover the Old With Freshly Painted Cabinets

Paint can do remarkable things, and with a gallon of primer and a gallon of paint, you can hide the old look to create new cabinets. It takes a lot of time, but when the project is complete, you will have yourself a brand-new kitchen.

Stain Cabinets a Darker, Richer Color

Stain is relatively inexpensive and goes a long way; you can buy it for as little as $10 a can. With one or two cans, you can stain lighter, out-of-date wood to create a striking, dark look.

Spice it Up With New Knobs

Many cabinets don’t come with knobs at all, and adding new knobs to a door can suddenly make your cabinets look brand new. It also makes them easier to open and keeps dirty hands directly off the cupboard doors.

Make a Bead Board Backsplash

If you love the cottage charm of the warm farmhouse look, you will adore a bead board backsplash. You can buy an entire sheet for $25 and easily cover 32 feet of backsplash area. Trim the edges with a small piece of molding.

Remove Cabinets and Add Shelves

Opening up a kitchen can be as easy as removing the cabinets from the wall. Add some simple shelves and your kitchen will not only look completely different, but it will feel new, too.

Add Glass to Cabinet Doors

I have seen it done before, and I am obsessed with it. With the right tools, you can cut out the fronts of the doors and have custom glass added inside. It not only brightens up a kitchen, but it adds dimension to a boring arrangement.

Splash Some Color on the Walls

If you are low on money and desperate for something new, grab your favorite paint color and add it to your wall. Whether it is blue, yellow, or mint green, paint is an easy and affordable way to freshen up a room with a new look.

Recycle an Old Door into Wooden Countertops

If your countertops are ugly, gross, and falling apart and your wallet is filled with single dollar bills, it is time to reach for an old wooden door. This project can give your kitchen a warm look that only wooden counters can provide. Take a solid, flat wood door and cut it, tracing the pattern of your old counters.

Sprinkle With Bright Décor

Sometimes remodeling is exhausting to even think about, let alone do. Take $100 and buy some new décor, plants, curtains, and rugs to add color and texture to your kitchen.

Hang a New Light Fixture

Light fixtures make a huge statement in a room, and adding a new one above the dining table can bring a touch of your personal style into the kitchen without making any drastic changes. Check out local donation centers to find old light fixtures that need nothing but a good spray-paint job. While you are there, look for other items to clean up and add to your kitchen. It can be fun and amazing to see what you can do with a few old but affordable things. In no time, your kitchen can have that new look you have been dying for.

 

By Wendy Weinert

Gold, Silver or Bronze: Choosing the Right Color For Your Bathroom

Photo credit: JJT Trading

Photo credit: JJT Trading

Whether your bathroom is traditional, modern, or eclectic, finding the right color fixtures that match the overall style of your remodel can be a daunting process. Today’s fixtures are available in a variety of different metals, finishes, and price ranges, but are dominated by three main colors: gold, silver, and bronze. While each have their own advantages and disadvantages, matching your fixtures to a room’s lighting, budget, and theme will ensure that your bathroom will reflect your taste level and personality.

GOLD

Gold-colored fixtures, particularly polished and satin brass, have seen a rise in popularity over the past several years and help give a bathroom a romantic, vintage look. Brass fixtures are generally more expensive than other finishes, and matching gold-colored fixtures to other metals can be more challenging than with silver or bronze-colored finishes. On the other hand, brass is easy to find, easy to clean, and extremely durable—brass fixtures catch the eye and can act as the “wow factor” in your bathroom—classy and bold, without being overly showy. Brass and other gold-colored finishes look best in bathrooms that use lots of porcelain, white marble, and warm lighting.

Photo credit: Homedit

Photo credit: Homedit

SILVER

Timeless, clean looking, and available in a variety of finishes—silver fixtures polish up nicely and look great under a variety of lighting conditions. Silver-colored finishes such as polished or brushed nickel, chrome, and stainless steel offer the most variety of these medal-themed metals and go well with basically any style bathroom whether it be contemporary, modern, traditional, or eclectic. Silver-colored finishes tend to go very well together, and a mixture of matte and glossy finishes (chrome faucets with brushed nickel lighting fixtures, for example) allows you to highlight certain elements of a room while blending others. While generally the most affordable of the three metal finishes, glossy finishes like chrome can be susceptible to water spots and fingerprints and have to be cleaned often—something to keep in mind before purchasing.

Photo Credit: Amba

Photo Credit: Amba

BRONZE

Rustic, classic, and elegant, bronze-colored fixtures have always been loved for their bold, warm look. At home in a traditional, Tuscan, or Mediterranean setting, finishes like copper and brushed or oil-rubbed bronze are great at adding an old-world feel to any bathroom. Best matched with more intricate lighting that features scrollwork, French, or classic styling, bronze fixtures are durable, easily matched with existing pieces, and will naturally color with age, developing a rich, unmistakable patina. Some bronze finishes, like copper, require a bit more maintenance than others but have natural antimicrobial properties (most germs eventually die after contact with copper surfaces) and will actually “heal” scratches over time—after a short period, blemishes on copper blend and disappear as the fixture’s patina darkens.

bronzebathroom

Remember to take some time to consider factors like lighting, style, and the practical use the room will see—if you have kids in the house, finishes like chrome may smudge too easily; if you are on a budget, stainless steel is a great option; if you’re going for a bright, eye-catching look, consider polished brass or another gold-colored fixture, but for a more relaxed, rustic approach look to bronze. No matter which color fixtures you choose, knowing about the pros and cons of each can help you make a smart, informed decision that will leave your new bathroom looking medal-worthy.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…how to choose the right mirror for your wall space

Photo Credit: Uttermost

Photo Credit: Uttermost

Decorating your home with mirrors is a great way to liven up a space and add a touch of visual excitement. With so many styles, shapes and colors, however, it can be hard to choose the right mirror. A great way to narrow down your various options is to determine why you are hanging a mirror in the first place. Just ask yourself – do you want your mirror to:

Add more light in a room and make it appear larger?
To open up a space and give it more light, try propping a full-length, frameless mirror up against the wall. If you want to save space and prefer the look of smaller, more decorative mirrors, then hang up a variety of different sized and shaped mirrors next to each other on your wall. A mixture of circular, square and other shaped mirrors will add an intriguing element to your space while making it appear larger at the same time.

Photo Credit: Surya

Photo Credit: Surya

Help you to get ready before leaving the house?

If you’re picking out a mirror to help you get ready in the morning before heading to work, you’ll want to consider lighted mirrors. A lighted mirror above the sink will fit in well with your bathroom décor and will provide enough light to put on make-up, do your hair or just do a quick check before heading out the door. It is also a good idea to put in front of some kind of light. In front of a lamp, a pendant, or even an entry way chandelier will not only add to the light source that you have but will make the space seem larger.

Add pizzazz to a bare wall?

Maybe the only reason why you want to hang up a mirror is to cover up an unadorned wall. If that’s the case, then you have plenty of options to choose from and can try more unique styles. Add a whimsical element to your room and give it a more positive vibe with a sunburst mirror. Any mirror that is designed with a stylish frame or unique shape will work.

Photo Credit: Trend Lighting

Photo Credit: Trend Lighting

Any room in your home can benefit from a beautiful wall mirror. Just choose the mirror that will function best in a particular space and enjoy having wall décor that is both stylish and useful!

By Wendy Weinert

How to Choose the Right Paint Color

PaintColor samplesIf you’ve ever spent any time at your local paint store or even in a hardware store that offers paint to customers you know how many different options and shades of each color are available. Considering that, it’s no surprise that many people don’t know where to begin when it comes to choosing the right paint color.

While there’s no definitive answer for every person and every home, there are some basic guidelines that can help you make appropriate choices. Typically, these guidelines can be applied to your home room by room, making sure your whole home ties together and maintains the right atmosphere throughout. Don’t forget about the lighting in the room as this will change how your color appears. Natural vs. electric light sources and the type they are – task, general, or ambient lighting will effect the color outcome.

Kitchen

Your kitchen is a room you likely spend a lot of time in, and it’s one where you probably spend time relaxing and feeling the pressure to get things done when entertaining or cooking for family. That’s why light and color is so important in this space.

You can’t go wrong with brighter colors in most kitchens, including colors like yellow, crisp white and even certain more saturated shades of colors like orange and cream, like the one below from Access Lighting. After all, the most important part of choosing a color for your kitchen is making sure it helps open up the space and give it energy, not enclose it.

Photo Credit: Access Lighting

Photo Credit: Access Lighting

Living Room

How you pick a color for your living room really depends on the type of living room you’re working with. A formal space need something different than a casual area where you spend time with family.

For a formal living room, choosing neutral colors that are soothing and refined like chocolate, cream, navy and beige are often ideal. For a room where you spend time with family those same colors can work, but you might want to soften the palate a bit and go for something a bit more playful – a royal blue instead of navy, perhaps.

Photo Credit: Artcraft Lighting

Photo Credit: Artcraft Lighting

Dining Room

Your dining room is a space that you want to feel elegant yet comfortable, so paint color plays an important role in pulling off that effect. In most cases you’ll want to work with more neutral colors in the dining room, and colors like crème, beige and even shades of green or navy can work well.

However, for a more playful space, choosing lighter, less saturated colors like pastels can also work, especially if you live in a coastal region or nature is close at hand.

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is a space where you should be spending time relaxing and unwinding from stressful days. While many people use their bed as a second office, that isn’t the atmosphere you want to cultivate.

When picking out colors for your master bedroom, relaxation should be what you have in mind. Deep, saturated colors that are dark can help provide that – colors like deep greens or a plum/eggplant color. However, you can also choose softer colors like buttercream and even eggshell whites if you prefer a lighter space and still get the relaxing feeling you’re looking for.

Photo Credit: Craftmade Lighting

Photo Credit: Craftmade Lighting

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are all about getting ready for your day, but more and more, people are using them as a space to relax. If that’s you, choose natural earth tones for your bathroom and really focus on finding a color that feels natural and actually appears in nature.

If you spend most of the time in your bathroom rushing and getting ready, choose bright white, yellow or even a fun shade of green. What’s important for you is good lighting and not making the space feel claustrophobic.

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Photo Credit: Capital Lighting

Choosing the right paint color for your space can feel ridiculously complicated, but the good news is that there really isn’t a right answer. While these suggestions can be helpful, anything that feels good to you is likely a wonderful decision for your home.

When picking paint, you’ll also want to consider the style of your home. A dining room in a home with Caribbean accents usually won’t want the same paint color as a home with Spanish revival details, so make sure you take that into consideration as well.

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