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

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.

Easy tricks to decorate like a professional

Easy tricks to decorate like a professional

You don’t have to spend big bucks to decorate your home like a stylist would. You just have to add the right touches here and there to pull off a designer look. Use these easy tricks in your home to enhance your home’s style and fool guests into thinking you hired a professional decorator.

Easy tricks to decorate like a professional

1. Use throw pillows and blankets to add color, texture and design

Throw pillows and blankets are an inexpensive way to improve your living room’s style. When selecting pillows, choose three or four that feature different, complementing designs. For throw blankets, don’t be afraid to try out different placements and folding options to get just the right look.

Easy tricks to decorate like a professional

2. Create a focal point with lighting

If you were to walk into an interior designer’s home, most likely you would see a statement light fixture or two. Dramatic lighting is essential in any decorator’s space, and it can be in yours, too. Find a room lacking drama and push its style to the next level with a stunning pendant or chandelier.

Easy tricks to decorate like a professional

Photo credit: Lindsay Sue

3. Add height with plants

If you live in a small space, there are a variety of ways to make it appear bigger. One way to add height is with a tall plant. This is also a good trick for enhancing an already high ceiling to create even more drama.

4. Incorporate variety in grouped decor

Instead of grouping three identical decor pieces together, keep the look interesting by choosing objects of different sizes or color. Variety is the best way to prevent an area from looking bland.

Easy tricks to decorate like a professional

5. Decorate with white to add elegance

White doesn’t necessarily mean boring. In many cases, white is actually the elegant and more refreshing choice. Have you ever slept in an all-white bedroom? You’ll be surprised at how relaxing it can be. If you’re decorating the bathroom, use white candles and towels to make the room feel like a spa.

You don’t need to hire a professional decorator to design a space you can enjoy for years. These easy tricks will help you pull off a designer look in no time.

By Wendy Weinert