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

Sofas, couches, davenports – What’s the difference?

I’m sure many of you grew up like I did thinking that sofas, couches and davenports were all the same thing. I’ve always thought they were synonyms you could use interchangeably and that certain regions in the U.S. preferred one word over the other, much like soda vs. pop. You can imagine my surprise, though, when I discovered that the words sofa, couch and davenport in fact have three separate meanings.

Couches

Fainting couch

Photo credit: South Shore Decorating Blog

Although invented prior to this time, couches became very popular in the Victorian era when they were referred to as a “fainting couch.” Couches during the Victorian period were usually armless and most often used by women wearing corsets who needed a resting place to catch their breath.

Sofas

Emerald Home Furnishings Grey Carleton Nail Head Sofa Sofa is said to have come from the Arabic term “suffah.” Originally, the word was used to describe a bench with arms and cushions. It was designed just for sitting, while the couch was created for both sitting and lying.

Davenports

Davenport

Photo credit: Spanish Hills

The word davenport actually describes a specific type of sofa, made by the manufacturing company A. H. Davenport and Company. Davenports were similar to futons, as they could be converted into a bed. Today it’s hard to tell the difference between a couch, sofa and davenport. While doing research, I came across numerous definitions and opinions that often contradicted each other. For example, some agree that sofas are more formal than couches and are mostly used for special occasions. Others say size matters and that sofas are typically larger than couches. The word davenport is often used to describe any sleeper-sofa, regardless of the manufacturing company. Additionally, many have decided that their former definitions no longer hold true and the three terms can be used interchangeably. What about you? Do you use the words couch, sofa and davenport to describe different pieces of furniture, or do you use one word over the others due to your upbringing? Tell us your story! By Wendy Weinert

Decorating for an open floor plan

Open Floor Plan

Photo credit: Sublime Decor

Homeowners have made open floor plans a popular layout style, and depending on your space, you may find it a suitable design choice for your home as well. Instead of separating each room with walls, open floor plans combine rooms such as the kitchen, dining room and living room into one large open area. I find open floor plans very appealing in smaller homes, and the layout works well for those with more square footage as well. It’s a refreshing feeling to walk into a home with an open-floor layout. With fewer walls and longer sightlines, the style is soothing and instantly creates a less cluttered appearance.

If you decide on an open layout for your own home, or if you are at least considering the option, strategize how you plan to furnish and decorate before you start tearing down walls. Decorating with an open floor plan isn’t the same process as if you were setting up each room individually. With no dividing walls, you have to find a way to create distinct spaces that still fit under one cohesive style.

Defining distinct spaces

Open floor plan

Photo credit: Freshome

To design an open floor plan that works, use furniture and accessories to create distinct rooms within the large area. Although there are no walls separating each room, there should still be individual focal points for each room, such as a pendant over the dining table or the entertainment center in the living room.

Another trick you can try is to divide the rooms not with walls, but with furniture. A large shelving unit can help you create clearly defined spaces, without losing the benefits of an open floor plan.

Creating a unified look

Unified look in an open floor plan

Photo credit: Pinterest

Creating separate rooms that also look cohesive can be a challenge. Tie the rooms together by decorating each space in the same style and color palette. If you’re decorating the kitchen to be mid-century modern for example, search for furniture and accessories that fit into that style as well. Even though each room will have very different purposes and furniture, they will look unified.

With furniture in the right place and a specific style carrying the overall look, you can create an open floor plan that not only works, but amazes.

By Wendy Weinert

 

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