Turn your kitchen into a cafe with these 5 ideas

What makes your favorite coffee spot the best? Is it the delicious cappuccino? The friendly staff? Maybe. But I bet it also has a lot to do with the atmosphere. The “vibe” we feel when stepping into a buzzing cafe is often the reason why we go out to get our coffee, rather than just brewing our own less-expensive cup at home. So why not try creating a similar atmosphere in your kitchen? Here are some fun ways you can bring the cafe experience to your own home.

1. Decorate for warmth
Photo credit: The Vintage Wren

Photo credit: The Vintage Wren

Coffee shops tend to have a warm, cozy atmosphere. Bring some of that coziness to your kitchen by carefully choosing colors. Warm shades of red, orange and brown are great colors for a cafe-inspired kitchen.

2. Make it trendycafe pendants

Coffee shop interiors rarely follow a simple, “timeless” design. They are all about keeping up with the latest trends. Vintage artwork, a hung-up chalkboard, quirky pendants – these are all ideas you can use to give your kitchen a trendy vibe.

3. Try out new furniturebar stools

Install a wooden shelf and add stools for bar seating, or give your kitchen cafe some sophistication with a small dinette set. With the right seating, you can have friends over for coffee dates or simply enjoy your morning cup in true cafe style.

4. Consider flooring 
Photo credit: House and Home

Photo credit: House and Home

Picture the floor of your favorite cafe. More than likely, it isn’t your typical kitchen linoleum flooring. Try wooden floors or help create that trendy vibe by installing an edgier design. Checkerboard flooring is a great idea if you’re going vintage.

5. Invest in a new coffee maker

When going to coffee shops, we often like to treat ourselves to a more complicated and expensive drink than just regular old coffee. Consider getting a cappuccino maker or something similar that will allow you to brew up a tasty treat when you’re in the mood for something different.

There’s no reason to stop visiting your favorite cafe, but with these ideas, you can enjoy a similar coffee shop experience more frequently – and for less money.

By Wendy Weinert

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

When selecting a lamp, consider its shade

When shopping online for lamps, we tend to look at certain styles to narrow down our search and choose the best option. But I’ve found that style is not the only factor we should consider. Choosing the right lamp shade is essential and can determine whether your lamp serves its purpose well.

More than likely, you aren’t just buying a lamp to use it as decor; you’re buying a lamp because you need light. The question is, however, what kind of light do you need? Are you planning to use your lamp for reading or other activities that require task lighting? Or do you want to add ambience and set a specific mood? Asking yourself these questions and pinpointing your reasons for needing a lamp will help you choose the right shade for your space.

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In my experience, both the shade’s thickness and color can contribute to the type of light it provides. Translucent shades in lighter colors will provide more light and are ideal for activities that require task lighting. If you’re buying a lamp for ambience, on the other hand, choose an opaque lamp shade in a darker color instead.

Now for the fun part: once you’ve determined what kind of lamp shade will provide the lighting your room needs, you can start searching for shades based on style. There are a lot of style choices you can make depending on your own preferences, but I would advise that you look for a smooth shade if your home is modern or contemporary. Pleated lamp shades, however, fit well into traditional or antique-style rooms.

In my opinion, the right lamp shade is both functional and stylish. Before you buy your next lamp, whether it’s a table lamp or one that sits on the floor, decide the type of lighting you desire and which shade will help you achieve it.

By Wendy Weinert

3 common mistakes to avoid when choosing light fixtures

With so many styles, designs and types of light fixtures to choose from, picking out the right one for your space is not always an obvious or easy choice. You can, however, improve your chances of finding lighting success by avoiding these three common mistakes:

3 common mistakes to avoid when choosing light fixtures

Mistake #1: Choosing a light fixture based on style over functionality

There are many beautiful and stylish light fixtures available that will improve your space’s appearance and enhance the overall look. Choosing a light fixture solely on its appearance, however, could leave you with less than optimal light output. The right fixture should be both stylish and functional, so consider your desired light output and keep it in mind when searching for a new light fixture.

3 common mistakes to avoid when choosing light fixtures

Mistake #2: Selecting a light fixture without considering ceiling height

It’s important that your family and guests can walk around your home comfortably without needing to duck to avoid hitting their head. Keep these rules of thumb in mind when choosing a ceiling light (these rules only apply when hanging light fixtures over walking spaces):

  • Ceilings below eight feet: If you have a low ceiling and are not planning to install the light over a table or counter, it’s best to choose a flush-mount light fixture so taller people can walk around safely.
  • Ceilings between eight and ten feet: If your ceiling is slightly higher, choose either a flush-mount light or a semi-flush lights, which typically hang just a foot away from the ceiling.
  • Ceilings over ten feet: For high ceilings, it is often best to install a pendant or chandelier to light up your space more effectively.

3 common mistakes to avoid when choosing light fixtures

Mistake #3: Relying too much on overhead lighting

Every room is different, but generally you’ll want to have a combination of task, accent and general ambient lighting to create a well-lit space. While you can install ceiling lights to provide the general overall lighting, be sure to also incorporate other types of light fixtures such as lamps or wall sconces.

Choosing a light fixture isn’t always easy, but avoiding these three mistakes will help you choose better lighting solutions so you can enjoy a home that is both stylish and functional.

By Wendy Weinert

11 Problems with Lighting

Photo By: chris.corwin (Flickr)

Photo By: chris.corwin (Flickr)

When it comes to interior design, lighting is an element that often gets overlooked. I have walked into a room many times and felt that something was a little off; the couches look good, the fabric of the curtains hangs nicely against the wall, and the rug is the perfect size, but something is missing. A quick scope of the lights, and there is my answer. Lighting ties a room together. It is the beginning and final touches of a room. When designing a room, problems with lighting can arise. Sometimes you can’t get it to electrically work, and often it simply does not work in a room. Here are 11 problems that are often found in a room.

Lighting in all the Wrong Places

I could have twenty different lights in the same room, but if they aren’t placed correctly, it might end up dark in the place I need the light the most. This is often a struggle when a room is wired electrically wrong.

Unsightly Lighting

If a light is ugly it doesn’t matter how bright it shines or where it hangs; it will be continue to be an eyesore. Read about these awful light-fixtures and why they should never have been hung in these rooms.

No Task Light in the Kitchen

The kitchen is where I cook, and it is so frustrating when the upper cabinets block the light from my working space. Learn about how installing lighting under your cabinets adds function with a touch of style.

No Dimmers

My mood changes throughout the day and a dimmer makes it easy to adjust the feel of a room. I have to have a dimmer in the family room. Being able to lower the lights while watching a movie is important. Adding a dimmer, along with these other lighting tips, will get your house glowing in the right way.

Too Many Recessed Lights

I love using can lights in a room, but when they are the only thing lighting a room it can feel dark. Recessed lights make it difficult for the light to escape and stretch out in the room. Read more about using too many recessed lights along with five other lighting mistakes in a home.

Energy Wasters

The biggest thing I look at when remodeling or designing any room is creating a room that is stunning and functional. Too many people jump on a design they love without thinking about the comfort or cost in the long run. Selecting energy-efficient lights can save energy and money while still giving the desired look.

Electrical Problems

If you are changing light-bulbs constantly or watching the bulb flicker, you are probably experiencing electrical problems. Read about the most common electrical problems and whether your little problem is actually a big one.

Lacking Variety

Don’t get too excited and start hanging all your favorite lights in the same room. Having variety is important, but this applies to the entire house. The kitchen, bathroom, and family room all serve a very different purpose. Lights should play a role in helping that room be functional.

Misuse of Natural Light

Natural light can play a huge part in lighting a room during the day. Embracing it can make a room completely bright without turning on any switches.

No Accent Lighting

I absolutely love accent lights in interior design. Using it around artwork, along stairs, and under cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms are a few of my favorite places to see the little lights glowing.

Too Many Lights

I have talked about how less is more, and it applies to lighting as well. Having too many different lights can be overwhelming and distracting. Position a couple of lights appropriately can give the same effect and provide an equal amount of brightness as hanging several lights; it also can save money on your electric bill.

by Wendy Weinert

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

Get Inspired by The Great Gatsby with Mercury Glass Lamps

The most recent film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beloved novel The Great Gatsby was spectacular in visual appeal. The director knew how to capture the glitz and glam of the 1920s and even if you didn’t like the movie, you had to appreciate the sparkling costumes and splendid décor that in today’s world might feel out of place and over-the-top. While trends have evolved and less is generally more, you can still achieve vintage glam without overwhelming; just incorporate mercury glass light fixtures into your home décor. The distinctive pieces are sure to bring excitement to any room.

Great-Gatsby-Living-Room

Photo by Warner Bros.

Mercury glass does not actually contain mercury and is instead coated with a silvery finish. It was first created and popular in the 1800s and wasArteriorsHomeMercuryGlassLamp commonly used to beautify a room. Although mercury glass had faded in popularity for a while, it is on the rise and enjoying a comeback. Bring this sparkling trend into your own home with the Walter distressed Mercury glass lamp. The combination of modern design and antique silver allows the lamp to blend in well with your contemporary décor and still adds a hint of vintage charm. The shimmer and shine of the mercury glass can be the perfect addition to any room lacking in allure.

Sparkling flapper costumes and lavish home décor aren’t common themes in today’s style trends. That doesn’t mean, however, you can’t still house a hint of the grandeur and excitement. Mercury glass is the perfect solution to creating a glamorous look that still fits in well with today’s modern room designs even if you don’t want to go all out with the entire theme and style of that era.

JamieYoungMercuryGlass

How décor can help make the first year of college successful

College is filled with new experiences. As a first year student, you will meet new friends, take on new responsibilities and move into a new space. It’s an exciting time, but it can also be an overwhelming time. A stress-free living environment will help other tasks seem more manageable. Dorm rooms often have limited space and can become cramped from too much clutter. Give your room personality and structure with the necessary items to make your first year a success.

Dorm-Room-Before

Dorm Room Before
Photo Credit: Laurey W. Glenn from My Home Ideas

Storage

Keep your dorm room neat and organized using a variety of storage solutions. With shower totes, freestanding or hanging organizers and drying hampers, you can make sure all of your personal belongings have a designated space, which will cut down on distracting clutter.

OvertheDoor3-TierBasket

Alarm Clock

Start college off on the right foot with an alarm clock that will also keep you from oversleeping. Late nights come with the territory, whether you are cramming for a test or hanging out with friends.  With a reliable alarm clock, you can rest assured that you won’t miss your 8 a.m. class the next morning.

Lighting

Likely, you will be occupying much of your time studying in your room. There will be late nights, and cramming for exams. If you don’t have the proper lighting, you will likely get headaches, and eye fatigue. Start the year strong with a light for your bed and for your desk that will give optimum illumination to your study and social efforts.

Task Chair

Sitting. It has to be comfortable in order for your mind to fully be focused on the study topic at hand. Get a chair with ample lumbar support and style that will make you want to stay in it for hours.

Seating

Every dorm room needs sitting furniture for watching TV or relaxing after class. Try the Loft wool loveseat. It is much more comfortable than a hard futon and will make watching movies more bearable.

LoftWoolLoveseat

Bedding

The right bedding will make you feel more at home and help you get a good night’s sleep so you’re prepared to pay attention in class. Select a comforter that is cozy, but also matches your personality.

Rugs

Many dorm rooms are a cold, hard floor – not the most optimum arrangement for a good study environment. Consider utilizing a large rug or several area rugs to provide a nice landing for your feet and an extra place to sprawl.

When you first step into your door room, it will likely be basic and plain. But with preparation, you can personalize it, organize it, and make it fully functional…the beginning to a fun and successful school year!

dorm-room-after

Dorm Room After
Photo Credit: Laurey W. Glenn from My Home Ideas

Desktop décor: Elevate your workspace style

Ditch the yellow legal pads, toss the clunky plastic accessories – there’s a style revolution coming to a desk near you. Work will always be work, but doing the tasks you need to do can be more enjoyable – and more productive – if you have an inspiring place to get it all done. With a few simple décor changes, you can elevate a basic desk to a workspace that wows.

Follow these desk décor tips to get started:

* Light it up. Lighting is incredibly important to your ability to work well. Too little light causes eyestrain and fatigue, neither of which is good for you or your productivity. One of the must-haves for any workspace is a desk lamp. Opt for a stylish version, like Koncept’s Z-Bar Mini lamp, which bends and moves to let you get just the right angle. It’s sleek style and availability in a rainbow of colors landed it on Oprah’s most recent “O List” in O Magazine.

Konceptpromobanner

* Color coordinate. Most desks eventually become a collection of mismatched bits and pieces – a brown pencil cup here, a red stapler there, a purple plant pot over yonder. It all adds up to visual mush – not exactly inspiring or motivating. Choose one or two colors that you really love and make them the exclusive colors for your desk (aside from neutrals like silver computers or black phones). Organization stores sell desk accessories in just about any color you can imagine; select something you find energizing (and match it to your lamp).

office* Add a touch of nature. Even if you don’t have the greenest thumb in the world, a plant on your desk can do you good. Some beautiful foliage adds a bit of extra style while also giving you a soothing visual – and a little bonus air purification. Look for plants that will thrive with limited natural light and don’t need too much attention.

Top 10 tips for getting perfect light

Your house has been furnished and decorated so that each room showcases your unique style. Achieve perfect lighting that will complement your hard work and help each room serve its intended purpose with these 10 tips.LivingRoom2

1. Consider the functionality of each room. Each room serves a different purpose and therefore needs to be lighted differently.

2. Use a mixture of lighting. There are areas of a room that may require more light than others so you will want to use a variety of lighting and bulbs.

3. Pinpoint specific elements of a room you want to feature. Accent lighting can be used to highlight an interesting piece of artwork or architectural elements.

4. Locate areas where you will need to incorporate task lighting. Ambient lighting creates a nice relaxing glow in a bedroom or living room. However, if you want to read a book or work at a desk, you will need to utilize task lighting as well to reduce eye strain.

farmhouse lamp

Farmhouse Antique Brass Floor Lamp

5. Add more light to areas where there are dark walls. Darker paint or finishes absorb more light and may need additional lighting to achieve the level of brightness you desire. Lamps are perfect for this solution.

6. Create a well-lit work area that doesn’t hurt your eyes. Choose a bulb that has around 75 to 100 watts to give yourself enough light without it being too bright.

7. Select a fixture that secures your lighting intentions. Light fixtures are mostly used for decorative purposes, but they can change a bulb’s level of brightness.

8. Choose a location for each light source. When planning the perfect lighting combination for a room, it’s wise to think where each source of light will be located, in relation to furniture and other design elements.

9. Install dimmers. Dimmers are easy to use and can change a room’s atmosphere any time you want to adjust it.

10. Let the light in. Natural sunlight can be the perfect addition to an already well-lit room.