The tiny house movement: what it is and why it’s so popular

Tiny house

Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

Lately I’ve been hearing or reading a lot about “tiny houses” (also called “small houses”). It has made me curious, so I wanted to take the time to learn more about what these tiny houses are and why so many people are talking about them.

It seems that a tiny house is exactly what its name implies. Several sources define a tiny house as being less than 1,000 square feet, but that’s generous considering many who build or buy one choose to go as small as 400 square feet or less. Although the new trend is in no way taking over, the small house movement is growing in popularity; many Americans are now choosing to downsize or start their life in these tiny homes.

Floor plans of a tiny house

251 sq. ft. of living space
Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

The question is, “Why?” Why are people choosing to live their lives in such small spaces? Well, there are many reasons, but the biggest ones are because of financial concerns, environmental impact and the desire for freedom. Tiny homes are a much more affordable and sustainable living solution, and many people use them to travel. They are, after all, a much more comfortable way of moving from place to place than an RV.

Although I’m not ready to pack up my home and move into a tiny house just yet, I think there is a lot of good in the movement. It’s an adjustment for sure, but many creative architects and designers have managed to make their small houses feel open and even spacious. It’s all about choosing your furniture and accessories carefully. A futon, for example, can be a great substitute for a couch or sofa in one of these tiny houses, as they are typically smaller and serve a dual purpose. When decorating, look for accessories that make an impact so you can still enjoy style with less decor.

Kichler small ceiling fan

Perfect ceiling fan for a small space

 

What are your thoughts on the tiny house movement? Do you think you could live in such a limited space? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

 

The Perfect Gift for Your Next Party

Summer brings lots of pool parties, birthday parties and family events. If you are the one hosting, the right décor and design is often top of mind, leaving the gifts to figure out later. This year, give a gift that is one-of-a-kind. If you are in a rush or can’t find the perfect gift, we have a few suggestions for you!

Consider Wall Decor

Wall décor is not only for adults but is a great gift for kids as well! No matter what your style is, wall decals from RoomMates make decorating easy and fun! Featuring your favorite licensed art like Minnie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Winnie the Pooh and Disney Pixar Cars, kids can bring their walls to life with their favorite characters and designs. (Wall decals by RoomMates also offer a wide selection of wall quotes, trees & branches and floral décor for adults). The best part is these wall decals are peel and stick. No sticky residue gets left on your walls! Plus, temporary decorating is great for kids since their favorite characters change so frequently!

Wall decor makes a nice gift if attending a child’s birthday party that has theme! The Frozen line is especially popular and is a special gift to give at a Frozen themed birthday party. What little girl wouldn’t want to open up her very own giant Elsa and hang her right up on her bedroom wall?

RoomMates Gift idea- Elsa

And one of our favorite reasons to give wall décor as a gift, it pairs well with bedroom themes. If the child’s bedroom décor is based on Mickey Mouse, giving a giant decal of Mickey or Mickey and his friends, just adds to the collection. Plus, after the décor is hung, it makes a nice bold statement on the wall.

RoomMates Gift idea- Mickey cropped

Personalized Wall Art

A cool spin on wall decals, give a custom wall decal for a gift that is really memorable. RoomMates custom wall decals offer the ability to personalize your own wall sticker. Use one of their premade templates and add your name or phrase. A great gift for any child, there is nothing that brings a room to life than a personalized peel and stick decal that says “Sasha’s Room.”  Like the wall décor line, customizable wall art is also removable and reusable!

RoomMates Gift idea- Personalized

Children receive so many toys. Consider a gift that is out of the box and fun! Remember wall décor is child friendly! We particularly like this kind of gift because of the application process! It is nice for the child to decorate together with an adult and be amazed by the peel and stick of the decal on the wall as they move it from wall to wall.

Consider something out of the box the next time you give a gift!

 

Jessica Toutsis

About Jessica Toutsis

Jessica Toutsis is the Digital Marketing Manager for Roommatesdecor.com is passionate about blogging, all things Web, and of course wall decals! Her expertise lies around content development, as well as SEO and social media and she frequently writes about home decor, re-purposing and home organization. To read more of Jessica’s blog posts, follow the RoomMates blog and add Jessica on Google+

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

 

Buying a ceiling fan part two: matching your preferences

Buying a ceiling fan part two: matching your preferences

In my last post about ceiling fans, you learned how to match a fan to your room’s size and ceiling height. Now it’s time to dive into the fun stuff! Choose a fan that will complement your room’s style and your own personal preferences by considering these three factors.

Buying a ceiling fan part two: matching your preferences

Style

Ceiling fans used to be fairly boring, but all that has changed in recent years. Now there is a wide selection to choose from and you can select a design to be casual, elegant, rustic or modern. Along with newer, creative designs, ceiling fans have also improved due to a larger selection of finishes. From black to bronze, there are an array of options to match your taste and existing décor. While looking at finishes, know that many fans come with reversible blades that allow you to change the look of your fan. Just make sure that both finishes fit in well with your space before making a final decision.

Buying a ceiling fan part two: matching your preferences

Function

Think about what you want and need your fan to do before making a final decision. Do you need your fan to have a light? If so, choose a fan that comes with a light fixture, or at least one that can be modified using a light kit. Would you prefer to have multiple speeds available? Then make sure to have a fan that can be adjusted. If you want to have your fan help distribute even heating during cooler months, find a fan that can run in reverse. It’s important that the ceiling fan you choose will meet your daily needs and preferences.

Buying a ceiling fan part two: matching your preferences

Convenience

Ceiling fans used to be adjusted by pulling a string or cord, but now most fans come with either a wall switch or remote control. Even those that don’t can often be modified if you don’t want to mess with a cord. Wall controls make it easy for you to adjust a ceiling fan upon entering or leaving a room, but remote controls allow you to adjust the fan without getting up from a couch or bed. Decide which convenience you prefer, or choose both options instead.

Overall, choose a ceiling fan to complement your room and taste. The right ceiling fan can do wonders for your home’s style and atmosphere.

By Wendy Weinert

 

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Your home is a place that provides comfort and relaxation, especially at the end of a busy and stressful day. This is why its interiors should be designed not only to bring out your personality, but also to evoke coziness that can help alleviate the day’s worries. A rustic design is a great way to achieve this, as it brings the simplicity and beauty of the outdoors inside your home.

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Photo credit: Brandi Pound

Below are some ideas that can help you achieve a rustic look and feel to your home.

1. Choose a color theme

Start by selecting a color theme to ensure coordination of your home décor and design. Often, the rustic looks borrows earthy tones that remind you of nature. Brown, green, tan, rust, and gray are perfect base tones that you can accentuate with shades of caramel and cream. The perfect combination of colors helps to present the design, and can fill a space with warmth.

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Photo credit: Antiques on Old Plank Road

2. Use wood

What better way to bring the outdoors in than by using wood? Whether it is wooden floors, wooden walls, or antique furniture, wood is an important element in achieving a rustic design. Having an important piece of antique wood furniture can also serve as the focal point in any given room, thus bringing about that rustic style that you’re aiming for.

3. Add texture

Equally important to the color of any given wall or furniture is the texture. The right texture used on the right surface can provide varying visual effects. Utilizing paint effects and different layers of fabrics and finishing are a great way to add texture to your living space. This can surely help you achieve that outdoorsy look and feel in your home.

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Photo credit: Ant & Carrie’s photos via Foter cc

4. Choose floor material wisely

Pay attention to the type of material used for your floor. Ideally, opt for stone or timber. Hardwood floors are attractive as well, and the look can be accentuated with the right kind of rugs.

5. Accessorize

Interesting accessories can greatly enhance any type of home or room design, and can add that unique sense of individuality any homeowner wants to show off. This can be achieved by using furniture and knick-knacks such as old grandfather clocks and vintage vases. Soften hardwood or stone floors by using woven rugs of interesting design and color. For curtains and furniture covers, use fabrics that can add more depth and character. Patchwork quilts work great for rustic home designs and can be used in a variety of ways.

5 Tips to Create a Rustic Home Design

Photo credit: Ryan Tansey via Foter cc

As more and more people are on the lookout for ways to improve their quality of life and living, going back to basics is a great direction in more ways than one. Rustic-styled homes are just one of the many ways to incorporate the vibrance of nature into our daily lives. With proper planning, a rustic-styled home can be obtained quite easily through the perfect balance of the outdoors and your own personal style.

 

About the author: Angie Cole is a fan of everything vintage and admires true old-world craftsmanship. She is a fan of Antiques on Old Plank Road, a furniture shop that imports and restores European quality antique and vintage pieces.

By Angie Cole

Marriage and the merging of your households

 

You said “I Do” and enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon with your new hubby, but now comes the hard part: cohabitation! The idea of living in a new home with your spouse might be exciting, but the process of merging two households and meshing two different personalities can cause even the best couples to bicker. I bet even the infamous Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (or should I say “Kimye”) fight from time to time – even though you wouldn’t know it from their Vogue cover shoot.  Moving in with your new spouse doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Consider these tips to keep bickering and stress at a minimum.  1. Look for ways to compromise  You like the color green, but your husband likes blue. You want a sofa while your spouse prefers sectionals. Even if you agree on very little, you can still move in together successfully by compromising. Let him have his sectional so you can paint the walls green, or meet in the middle and make decisions you can agree on together.  2. When buying new items, shop together  To prevent having to make returns, make all of your major purchase decisions together. Your husband will appreciate being included and you can feel good about buying new furniture that you both enjoy.  3. Get rid of duplicate items  There’s only so much room in one house and there’s no point in having two sets of tableware or two large sofas taking over your living room. Before you actually move, go through all of your household items and furnishings to decide what you’ll keep and what can be sold, donated or thrown out. Be practical when making these decisions. If your husband has the better blender, there’s no reason for you to keep yours.  4. Allow yourself time to adjust  Moving into a new place with different furniture and décor is a huge change and you’re going to need time to adjust. Even if you don’t like some of your husband’s stuff or decorative choices now, you might grow to like or even love them in the future.

Photo credit: Vogue

You said “I Do” and enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon with your new hubby, but now comes the hard part: cohabitation! The idea of living in a new home with your spouse might be exciting, but the process of merging two households and meshing two different personalities can cause even the best couples to bicker. I bet even the infamous Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (or should I say “Kimye”) fight from time to time – even though you wouldn’t know it from their Vogue cover shoot.

Moving in with your new spouse doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Consider these tips to keep bickering and stress at a minimum.

Marriage and the merging of your households

1. Look for ways to compromise

You like the color green, but your husband likes blue. You want a sofa while your spouse prefers sectionals. Even if you agree on very little, you can still move in together successfully by compromising. Let him have his sectional so you can paint the walls green, or meet in the middle and make decisions you can agree on together.

Marriage and the merging of your households

2. When buying new items, shop together

To prevent having to make returns, make all of your major purchase decisions together. Your husband will appreciate being included and you can feel good about buying new furniture that you both enjoy.

3. Get rid of duplicate items

There’s only so much room in one house and there’s no point in having two sets of tableware or two large sofas taking over your living room. Before you actually move, go through all of your household items and furnishings to decide what you’ll keep and what can be sold, donated or thrown out. Be practical when making these decisions. If your husband has the better blender, there’s no reason for you to keep yours.

Marriage and the merging of your households

4. Allow yourself time to adjust

Moving into a new place with different furniture and décor is a huge change and you’re going to need time to adjust. Even if you don’t like some of your husband’s stuff or decorative choices now, you might grow to like or even love them in the future.

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

How to clean and care for your chandelier

How to clean and care for your chandelier

Chandeliers can be a stunning addition to your space, but without regular cleaning they can quickly become dull and dirty. When guests come over, you want them to notice the beautiful crystals and elegant design of your chandelier, not that it has collected numerous cobwebs and a lot of dust. Learn how to properly clean your chandelier and allow its beauty to shine.

How to clean and care for your chandelier

There are many chandelier cleaning products that people can buy, but these special formulas are actually harmful to your chandelier’s frame and can cause your crystals to become cloudy. When cleaning your light fixture, all you need are white cotton gloves and possibly some warm water. Using products that contain chemicals, such as glass cleaners or even soap, can tarnish the metallic coatings and defeat the purpose of cleaning your chandelier in the first place.

Before cleaning, make sure to turn the light off. Then you can dust the chandelier and remove any cobwebs that have formed using your cotton glove. A cotton cloth also works, but be sure not to touch the crystals with your hands, as they could leave fingerprints. If the crystals are extremely dirty and dusting with cotton gloves doesn’t do the trick, remove the crystals from the frame and use warm water. After wiping with a damp cloth, be sure to dry the crystals immediately.

How often you need to clean your chandelier will depend on the room and the fixture. Pay attention to the way your chandelier looks right after it has been cleaned so that you’re more likely to notice when it’s dirty. A quick clean now and then will keep your chandelier shining bright and your overall space looking great.

By Wendy Weinert

Architectural Lights made easy

At night, the lights turn on and the city comes alive. One of my favorite things about visiting different cities is experiencing what they look like at night. Las Vegas is a city that has architectural lighting down, with exploding colors. It seems to be as bright at night as it is during the day. From glowing arches and colorful fountains to buildings draped in an artistic design, cities around the world are using lighting to stand out from the rest. Architectural lighting is what illuminates commercial buildings with color and style. It is not something designers just slap together; it is thought out and arranged in specific patterns to create the desired effect. Lighting can be expensive, and a professional not only wants the outside of a building to look good, but they work to fit it in a budget while still keeping the energy bill down. Lights can make a huge impact on your building and create positive exposure of your location and business. With a little study, planning, and work, you can add architectural lighting to a commercial or even residential building without breaking the budget or overworking your brain.

Photo by Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Photo by Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Design

Before buying any lights for a building, you are going to have to make some design decisions. I love lighting that screams for attention, but it doesn’t work for every business or building. Decide on what you want your building to “feel” like. I know that seems silly, but subtle lights around the corners and landscaping can give the feeling of peace. Bright lights that are filled with colors might signify action and adventure. Other buildings need lights to keep the outdoors lit while people are working; spotlights will help employees feel comfortable and safe.

Budget

We would all love to add as many lights and accessories as we envision, but sometimes the final decision is left to the budget. Choose what lights are necessary first. Depending on what time of day your building is most occupied, you might need to focus on night lights or accent day lights. Once you have figured out the necessary areas, you can then begin adding extra lights to darker areas or to advertise your building. I know for my home, having my walkway lit is important, but adding lights under the roof line is an added bonus if the budget allows for it.

Map it Out

Once you have figured out the budget and type of lights you want, it is time to map it out. This will help you recognize areas where lighting is needed most; doors and walkways will need the most lighting. Arrange the lights to cover all darkened areas, and slowly trace back to add architectural lights to increase curb appeal and add that little extra something.

Night Lights

Night lights serve multiple purposes; some lights are used to prevent break-ins, while others help guide people to the door and keep the area safely lit. For buildings that are open at night, adding bright architectural lights can helps direct customers your way. When you think about big cities, night lights can be everything to make a commercial building stand out and look alive.

Day Lights

Lights during the day might sound a little like overkill, but adding them under the building roof line helps people feel comfortable and know the business is open. Creating lights that can be used both at night and during the day is a great way to get the benefits of both on a tight budget. Getting help from a professional is the easiest way to ensure complete visibility, style, and curb appeal on a budget.

By Wendy Weinert

12 DIY Light Fixtures via Pinterest

Like most people, I love Pinterest. It makes it so much easier to gather inspiration from pictures and blogs all in one convenient location. There are so many DIY projects that I could have something to do every single day for the rest of my life. When it comes to decorating, I am always on the lookout for affordable projects to add to my home. Light fixtures can be expensive, but you can cut down on the cost by creating your own. Here are 12 light fixture projects you can see floating around the pages of Pinterest; they are a great way to add a little flare to any room.

1. Lantern Fixtures

If you have seen rustic lanterns, then you know how much style they add to room. Instead of spending a fortune on these lights, you can make them yourself. Buy a light-less lantern and a used light to place inside. Combine the two and you have yourself a lantern fixture.

2. Knitted Lamp Shade

This lamp shade leaves room for creativity. Knitting a circular pattern to cover a hanging pendant will give your house a cottage feel while spicing up a boring light.

3. Cable Light

Sometimes simple lights can make the biggest impact. Wrapping a basic cord light with rope and hanging it from the wall can give a room a touch of rustic living.

4. Paint Mixer Stick Lampshade

This is exactly what it says: a lamp shade made of paint mixer sticks. With a little glue and wood stain, surround an old lampshade with sticks in a vertical pattern.

5. Circle Light Fixture

Buy two sets of sewing hoops and spray them your desired color. Then circle them within each other and screw them together. Use the guts from another light and hang it from your ceiling.

6. Cylindrical Wood Veneer Pendant Light

Combining two empty paint cans with the bottoms removed and wrapping them with wood veneer will give you a cylinder look in the color you want.

7. Wood Veneer Lamp Shade

This is definitely one of my favorites and is similar to the paint mixer lampshade. Using an old lampshade and veneer strips, simply wrap the wood around the lampshades in a loose pattern.

8. String Light Fixture

This is probably the most popular one circling around Pinterest and is created by using a ball and string. If you remember making piñatas in grade school, then you can figure out how to make this. Glue long strips of string in various patterns until most of the larger holes are cut into smaller. Once everything is completely dry, deflate the ball and you have yourself a gorgeous light fixture.

9. Metal Hanging Light

Start with a metal hanging basket and remove the chains. Cut out pieces of circular cardboard and place at the top of the basket and inside. Then insert a light bulb cord and hang your new piece from the ceiling.

10. Hanging Branch Lamp

Another simple lamp fixture can be created with the use of a light bulb cord and a branch. Attach a thick branch to the wall with part of it protruding. Then staple a cord light to the underneath and have the bulb dangle from the end of the branch.

11. Teacup Fixture

This light is definitely unique, and you won’t see it in very many homes. By carefully removing the bottom of a teacup you can hang cord light bulbs inside; try using several teacups for a bulkier look.

12. Wine Bottle Chandelier

This one is a little tricky, but following a tutorial will help you get an expensive look with wood and old wine bottles.

No matter what lamp fixture you decide to create, it is an opportunity to add your own personality to your home.

By Wendy Weinert