Consider a sideboard for your contemporary home

The use of sideboards dates back to 18th century Europe and soon after became popular in American dining rooms. Originally, sideboards were only considered dining room furniture, and they were used to serve food and store dishware.

A lot has changed since the 1700s; what was once stored on sideboards is now put away in kitchen cupboards and food is often placed on the dining room table or kitchen counter. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t have a sideboard in your home. Over time, the use of sideboards has changed and they can be used in almost any room of the house.

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Today, a sideboard can satisfy multiple different needs and has evolved into a very useful piece of furniture. And now, many of the newer sideboards built are actually designed to better meet that current functionality (although you can still have the original dining room look if you want). Just like its original purpose, a sideboard can be used to house items, but instead of just the dining room, can be placed in the bedroom, living room or wherever you need to remove some clutter.

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Many sideboards offer hidden storage space, so anything you need to put away can be thrown in without being on display. If a display is what you want, use the top to place decorative items like photos or a plant. You can also get a glass sideboard for any items you want to stored, but also seen.

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While sideboards have changed to become a “use however you want to” piece of furniture, they can still be used as originally intended. An elegant or antique sideboard looks great in a more formal dining room.

Sideboards are normally placed up against a wall, seeing as they only have cupboards and drawers on one side, but they don’t necessarily have to be. Sideboards can also separate two different rooms, such as the kitchen and dining room.

The purpose and proper use of sideboards is no longer set in stone. Think outside the box and find ways you can use a sideboard in your own home.

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“Industrial Chic” Design Trend

By Brian Lintner for Bellacor.com

One of the latest trends in interior design is the shift towards a transitional “Industrial Chic” look. With the “Industrial Chic” trend, iconic modern silhouettes are juxtaposed with the dry, scraped and weathered finishes popularized by the “La Maison” traditional trend, producing what could be called “Shabby Modern”.  Finding its roots in the “La Maison” trend, which uses traditional elements in weathered finishes and incorporates pieces of exaggerated scale, “Industrial Chic” incorporates many of the same finishes as those seen in the French inspired design, which is a long-standing trend in Europe and now made popular in the United States by retailers such as Restoration Hardware.

 “La Maison” Traditional Trend Inspired “Industrial Chic” Design and Finishesbedroom pendant

Although “Industrial Chic” design uses many of the same key finishes and materials as the “La Maison” trend, “Industrial Chic” design incorporates Industrial “Found Objects” and institution-scaled accessories are a big part of the look. With “Industrial Chic” design, you can use industrial shapes and finishes to create the on-trend look in almost any transitional space. Great examples of chic fixtures include light fixtures that feature clean drum shades as well as over-sized pendant lights. The drum shape in itself is an industrial shape. You can soften the look by using linen and burlap fabrics which are common to the trend. In 2013, Sea Gull Lighting introduced several drum shaped, fabric semi-flush and pendant fixtures, including pieces from the Stirling collection shown below.  Stirling, with its chic style and eclectic twist brings clean, modern lines to a traditional soul. White linen drum shades in combination with brushed nickel finish is eye-catching and inviting.Pendant

The Brayden Collection, by Sea Gull Lighting, is another drum shape option available in a darker finish. The Brayden’s elegantly simple fabric drum shade is highlighted by a fun design element with an industrial flair. At the crown of the fixture, three thick, metal rods hook to the center structure, adding an unexpected twist to this classic silhouette. An acrylic diffuser, held in place with a metal finial, finishes off the look.Dining Room Pendant

In an industrial setting, lights are typically meant for a specific task. For example, pendant lights are used as task lighting when working on a manufactured product.  Although the concept of pendant lighting in a kitchen setting is not new, the Kitchen1over-sized pendants using industrial materials over an island are an easy way to create an “Industrial Chic” feel in the kitchen.  Inspired by industrial lighting, the hard-working, large-scale pendants in Sea Gull Lighting’s Pratt Street Collection put light where you need it, while making a significant design statement. Pratt Street is offered in a choice of Prismatic Glass or Machine-Shaped Metal styles. Fully enclosed, a prismatic diffuser spreads light output evenly and alleviates glare.

As we look forward to the new product introductions slated for 2014, many lighting manufacturers will continue to add industrial style light fixtures to their collections that include bare-bulb light fixtures, fixtures with wire cage and other innovative designs that will include the key elements of the “Industrial Chic” trend. Stay tuned to get a first glimpse into Sea Gull Lighting’s new industrial style chandeliers and pendants set for release in late fall 2013.

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Ottomans: So Much More Than a Resting Place

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Like what you see in the picture? Find your ideal room here:

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Accent Table
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Silver/floral shade Table Lamp

After a long day, there’s nothing better than sitting back and putting up your feet – and ottomans are the perfect piece of furniture for doing just that. But often, ottomans are an afterthought, seen more as an accessory than a necessity. Designers know, however, that ottomans are a key décor element that can pull a room together and give it some extra character in addition to providing that extra level of relaxation.

So, what can an ottoman do for your room?

  • Add style. Are you classic? Contemporary? Transitional? An ottoman can help to drive the style direction and feel of your room. With the plethora of options available, the ottoman can act as your center piece the brings everything together. As an added bonus, an ottoman can be style and function and may be a place for storage, extra seating, a place to rest your weary feet, or literally just a place to put your favorite magazines and accent decor.
  • Add texture. Ottomans are available in an almost endless variety of fabrics that add visual texture to a room. Leather, for instance, offers a subtle sheen and an organic, smooth texture. Cowhide ottomans cast light differently and have their own uniquely tactile character. Other fabric options like damask, velvet or even rush grass also provide visual interest.
  • Enhance color. Whether you want to harmonize with the existing color scheme of your room or add a burst of color, you can find an ottoman that suits your tastes. Neutral shades are the most adaptable options; earth tones generally pair nicely with other earth tones. For something bolder, an ottoman covered in handwoven kilim squares, which are one-of-a-kind, will offer a rainbow of rich colors, including reds, blues, browns and golden hues.
  • Balance the look of the room. Large rooms can suffer from an excess of negative space, leaving the room feeling “off” or just a little too empty. Ottomans, alone or in pairs or groupings can add that extra element that fills the space to balance the overall appearance of the room.

The Design Doctor

By Corey Damen Jenkins for Bellacor.com

In my humble opinion, Interior Designers are a lot like doctors: people come to them with ailing homes that need to be operated on. Some people get designers involved early, such as during the construction of a new home. But sadly, there are a lot of people out there who would rather wait until their home is in cardiac arrest before calling up a designer.

While DIY continues to be “all the rage” the truth is many folks make pretty expensive mistakes when they try their hand at decorating and design. In the end, what should be an enjoyable experience becomes a source of frustration. So what are five tell-tale “symptoms” that a person should accept a house call from The Design Doctor?

BEFORE
Photo Credit: Corey Damen Jenkins

AFTER
Photo Credit & Interior Design by: Corey Damen Jenkins

Symptom #1: The “Play-Doh” Complex: You have good ideas but you are indecisive, unsure of yourself and become like putty in the hands of a hungry, diabolical salesperson. Folks like this end up with rooms full of hodge-podged messes.

Antidote: Like doctors making house calls, Interior Designers work with you IN YOUR HOME, not from a department store’s sales floor, so they can integrate your personal style with any space or house dilemma you may have. In other words, they care about the outcome and will work with you diligently to give you confidence as you make purchases.

Symptom #2: The “Ostrich” Complex: You are overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the process. You admit the house needs a facelift but you have no idea where to get started! Colors, patterns, scale…just thinking about these things gives you vertigo!  So you’d rather just bury your head in the sand and procrastinate.10

Antidote: A design professional will rescue you from the quick sand, and help you face the music! They have been skillfully trained to tackle all of those overwhelming challenges and can take a lot of stress off your shoulders in the process. They are also aware of cost-effective ways that can even make previous mistakes look like they were planned!

Symptom #3: The “Bottom Line” Complex: Okay, so maybe a lot of us suffer from this complex. You know the house needs to be updated–perhaps in stages over a period of months or even years–but you are naturally concerned about how much it will cost. “Budget” is your middle name…and maybe your last name too.

Antidote: An interior designer can prioritize things that need to be done, create a cost-study for you and generate a time-line. They are also well-versed in what the market has to offer in terms of cost savings–but without compromising style or beauty.

11Symptom #4: The “Doubting Debby” Complex: You are leery of making any changes because you’re afraid that they will turn out looking ugly. And then your friends will laugh at you.

Antidote: An interior designer has many specialties, not the least of which is the art of creating great looking spaces. Besides, no interior designer worth their salt will allow their work to be equated with the word “ugly”! Nothing can be possibly worse for a designer than a poor referral–it can be the kiss of death in business–so you can best believe that he or she is going to take pride in their work. They will be dedicated to making you look good as a client.

Symptom #5: The “Running Hampster” Complex: You. Are. Too. Busy. Your home desperately needs a makeover, but you are entirely too swamped with life/work/kids or lack the energy and interest to do it right now.

Antidote: Many Designers have great project management skills. They are well-equipped to negotiate and coordinate the efforts of vendors and contractors. This means you can delegate as much or as little to them to manage in your behalf and they will keep you updated on the progress.

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Photo Credit: Delight By Design

Let’s admit it and be honest with ourselves. You suffer from at least one of these maladies, right? If so, why not hire a professional that you can delegate this “problem child” to raise? I say use your energy and time for things that you really enjoy. Or if you do happen to love the art of decorating, imagine how much more enjoyable it would be to have a design coach collaborating with you, helping you to avoid making costly mistakes!

So if your house is on life-support, an interior designer may be just the “cure” needed to resuscitate it back to life. Why not call one up for an interview today?

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How to capture the trend of the moment: Exposed bulb light fixtures

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A lot of trends are just flashes in the pan, but the new tendency toward light fixtures with exposed bulbs looks like one with real staying power. Instead of hiding behind an opaque shade, exposed bulb fixtures put the simple, sculptural form of the bulb on display as the main point of interest.exposedbulb_1There is a surprising variety of options for homeowners who fall under the spell of the look. Pendant lights are one of the most widely available forms, but within that category, you’ll find everything from fixtures that are essentially just a socket and a cord to bulbs that sit inside a clear glass shade that adds extra interest while also exposing the form of the bulb.

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Sconces, flush-mount ceiling fixtures, table lamps and floor lamps round out the selection. Metal finishes on the fixtures range from the subtly classic look of oil-rubbed bronze to brighter tones like silver and copper.Flush mount exposed bulb

So, is this trend right for your home? There are a few things to consider before you say yes or no. First, do you like an industrial look? While exposed bulbs are hot-hot-hot in the design world, this style, which hearkens back to factories and schoolhouses in the days of yore, might not be your cup of tea. Keep in mind that you may need to buy specialized bulbs for the fixtures to avoid overly bright light output.

If your home already has a traditional feel, this can be a great way to update its style and breathe some new life and light into it. It works extraordinarily well in urban-chic spaces, but is also very well suited for modern organic styles, and even Craftsman-inspired rooms.

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Easy ways to add urban-chic style to your home

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Photo credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/381257924674740115/

Page through any home design magazine these days and you’ll see it: urban-chic style. It can be hard to envision what that moniker means, but here’s the core concept: A mix of old and new décor items and traditional and trendy style touches, all in an airy, not-too-busy space. The great news is that, no matter what kind of “bones” your home has, you can update your interior in easy ways to get this in-demand look.

Here are a few ways to get started:

Add a rustic touch – Not everything in an urban chic environment is glossy and brand-new – one of the keys to the look is adding lived-in elements that provide texture and character. Furniture made from salvaged or re-claimed wood is a great idea. Try a console table that combines a distressed patina with the classical form of turned balusters, combining roughness and elegance in one piece.

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An updated take on the chandelier – Lighting fixtures can do a lot to define a room, or simply support your décor scheme. For an urban-chic look, select a chandelier that bridges the gap between contemporary and classic design. Crystorama’s chandeliers from the Cameron Collection, offered in the English Bronze finishdoes the job perfectly, with swooping lines of metal over a more traditional arrangement of bulbs.

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Eclectic accessories – Urban chic is a look that calls for a lot of your own personality. Express your unique tastes through accessories spread across the home. Don’t be afraid to mix and match eras and genres. Hang a minimalist painting on the wall, but set your grandmother’s heirloom candelabra on the dining table. Roll out an antique Turkish rug and decorate your mantle with contemporary ceramic vases. It’s all about creating an interesting mix that tells a story about you.

The cluster effect: How to make it work in your home

From textiles to home décor, the cluster trend – layering and grouping décor elements – is here to stay. Now it’s easier than ever to implement this favorite strategy of interior designers into your home, no matter what your style preferences. Here are three ways to add the cluster effect to your favorite rooms.

LIGHTING CLUSTERS

Cluster designs can be found in various lighting pieces, but perhaps the most popular iCorbett Big Bangs in chandeliers. Add a cluster chandelier to your favorite room for an instant transformation from boring to beautiful. For example, the Corbett Big Bang Silver Leaf Sixteen Light Pendant features a beautiful brushed iron and glass detailing in an elegant cluster design. As light illuminates the cluster, it only further enhances the eye-catching focal point that provides a room-widening effect.

TABLETOP VIGNETTES

Why do homes in magazines always look so polished? It’s because accessories are arranged into vignettes that mimic still-life art. There are a few general guidelines for creating stunning vignettes. Start by grouping similar items together in odd numbers, for example three vases of varying heights. Mixing textures like shiny metals with organic materials like bamboo provides visual interest, but make sure the grouping coordinates with the room’s overall design. Finally, build vignettes around a light source, such as in front of a window or next to a lamp.CoffeeTable

WALL GROUPINGS

Updating your home with wall décor is a great way to give it personality, but how and where you place those pieces either enhances or detracts from its style. Try clustering small- and medium-size items together for a cohesive look. Choose pieces with at least one element in common to tie the group together. For example, select different photography and use the same frame for each, or different plates that each feature turquoise accents. If you have a larger piece, use it as the center and strategically place smaller items in at attractive cluster surrounding it.

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