Ugly house? Fix it with symmetry

You might not spend much time thinking about symmetry, but it affects you, me and everyone else. For instance, people with symmetrical faces are often seen as more attractive (although we rarely realize symmetry is the reason). In interior design, symmetry can help you feel safe and comfortable. It can also help make a room feel complete.

Try these three ideas for creating symmetrical balance in your home. A little symmetry might be just what your interior needs to turn into a beautiful and welcoming environment.

  • Invest in two nightstands instead of one.

    Photo credit: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

    Placing a nightstand on both sides of your bed will give your room stability and help you feel more comfortable right before falling asleep.

  • Create symmetry with artwork. 

There are different ways to do this. You could hang up two pieces side by side or group four pictures of the same size and shape together. If you want to hang up three paintings, have the outer pieces match in size and shape.

  • Hang two pendants above the dining table. Pendant2

If you have a larger table, this is a great way to ensure proper lighting.

I’ve only listed a few, but the possibilities for creating symmetry are endless. Besides using the ideas above, you can also create a symmetrical balance by pinpointing the vertical axis in each room and then decorating both sides of that axis so that they mirror each other. For example, in the living room, the coffee table can be considered the axis, in which case seating on both sides should then match.

Without even realizing it, we see symmetrical designs as being more attractive and balanced than those without it. While not everything in your home needs to be perfectly symmetrical (that would get boring fast), mirroring furniture and/or decor can bring order to your space and enhance its beauty. Improve your home’s design with symmetry and enjoy a more comforting, attractive space.

By Wendy Weinert

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

2014 Fall Fashion Week trends you can bring into the home

The fall season has only just begun, but the world’s top fashion designers have already showcased their collections for spring 2015. New York Fall Fashion Week took place September 4-11, where models showed off the wardrobe trends that will dominate stores next year. And while it’s too early to actually wear these trends, you can still enjoy them by bringing a few into your home. Here are six trends that ruled Fashion Week and ideas for incorporating them into your interior design.

1. Denim jackets
Photo credit: Style Bistro

Photo credit: Style Bistro

jean couch

Denim jackets are making a comeback. If you like the look of denim but jackets aren’t your style, look for denim-colored linens and furniture upholstery that you can use to enhance your interior design instead. Because denim is a neutral color, you won’t have any trouble finding decor and other furniture to match.

2. Fringe
Photo credit: Refinery 29

Photo credit: Refinery 29

Many trends from the 70′s have died and, honestly, I think that’s a good thing. Fringe, however, has become a trend once more. On the runway, it’s showing up on the hems of dresses, shirts and skirts. To recreate the look in your home, try hanging up a fun tapestry that has fringed edges on the wall of your living room or bedroom.

3. Leather
Photo credit: Fashionisers

Photo credit: Fashionisers

In the fashion world, leather goes in and out of style frequently. For spring 2015, it’s in. Fortunately in the interior design world, leather never goes out of style and you can buy a leather sofa without needing to replace it in a few years. Faux leather is also stylish and durable, if you prefer that alternative.

4. White and black
Photo credit: Style Bistro

Photo credit: Style Bistro

Utopia_2415_Uber_Black-RS

Surprisingly, two of the biggest colors for spring are white and black. Whether you use them separately or pair the two colors together, these classic shades will bring sophistication to your space.

5. Stylish workout apparel
Photo credit: E! online

Photo credit: E! online

Horizontal_Kitchen_62279-CH-CRY

Who says you can’t look good working out? Models sporting stylish athletic wear this season have proven that you can. Get inspired by the bright, neon colors that many of these designers used to create their line of active wear and use them to update your home. You could apply it to an entire room such as your kitchen. The sky’s the limit! It just all depends on how adventurous you are.

6. Chunky Knits
Photo credit: E! online

Photo credit: E! online

Fall means it’s time to stock up on chunky knit sweaters.  Many designers showed several cozy styles in a range of flattering colors. Incorporate this into your home with a chunky knit throw. Leave it on the couch so it’s ready to go when you need a little extra warmth or keep it in a decorative basket.

What are some of your favorite trends shown on the runway this fall? Send us a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

Create a stylish coffee table display with these 5 tips

Coffee tables aren’t just good for setting down your cup of Joe in the morning. With the right decor and household items, coffee tables can be used to enhance the overall appearance of your living room, too. Think carefully before setting items on your table, and keep these five tips in mind to create a look you’ll love.

1. Select books and magazines worth showing off
Photo credit: Tiffany Eastman Interiors

Photo credit: Tiffany Eastman Interiors

If you have a large stack of magazines or books, sort through your collection and choose the titles you wish to feature. It may be a book with an attractive cover or a story you think guests would like to read during their stay.

2. Cover it with a throw to add warmthcoffee table throw

A wooden or glass coffee table doesn’t necessarily need a cloth covering, but it can be a fun way to update your living room and try something new. During the fall and winter months, cover your table with a throw to create a cozier room.

3. Keep it simple

A cluttered coffee table can lend your living room a cluttered look as well. Try keeping the surface of your table simple, with only a few decorative items to add style. Some people like keeping decor very minimal, placing only flowers on top of the table.

4. Consider numbers

When grouping decorative pieces together, keep in mind that odd numbers tend to look more visually appealing. Depending on size, you could decorate your table with one, three or five items.

5. Try a theme
Photo credit: Starfish Cottage

Photo credit: Starfish Cottage

A theme can give your coffee table display a cohesive look. Maybe you collect antiques or you are enthusiastic about a particular color. Use these to create a coffee table theme that you and others will enjoy. A “natural” theme with decor items like driftwood, seashells or candles can help create a calming environment.

They say coffee tables are the finishing touch to any living room setup. With this in mind, decorate your coffee table to create a complete look for your living room and take its style to the next level.

By Wendy Weinert

4 things you should be buying this fall

The first day of fall is almost upon us and more than likely, you already went on a back-to-school shopping trip. As the season changes and new inventory makes its way into the stores, it’s a good time to consider shopping for your home as well. Here are some items worth watching for.

End-of-the-summer sale itemsend of summer sale

Whether it’s clothes, plants or outdoor patio furniture, you can start buying this summer’s products now for less. Make a list of items you need or want for next year, and take advantage of the lower prices this fall.

Fall decorfall wreath

If you’re like me and you enjoy seasonal decor, start decorating for fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving now. Before you know it, winter will be here and your fall decor will have to be put away until next year.

Winter linens winter bedding

Here in Minnesota, winters can be brutal. But even if you live in an area where winters are mild, you’ll still want to prepare your home for chillier weather. Search for new curtains, blankets and sheets that are thicker and warmer than what you are using now. Curtains should be thermal insulated or made from a heavier material like velvet to keep warm air inside your home. Bedding that is down filled always proves to be a good barrier against winter chill. You can also keep warm by filling your wardrobe with sweaters, coats and other winter wear.

Appliances

Appliances can get expensive, but because new models usually come out in the winter, you can start buying this year’s models for lower prices. Need a new oven or microwave? Start shopping this fall to get the best deals.

By Wendy Weinert

6 ways to get rid of bad odors in your home

I can handle a little clutter in my home from time to time, but as hard as I try to keep my home tidy, I know I’m not perfect. What I can’t handle, however, is a bad odor – and I certainly don’t want guests walking into my home if there is a rotten smell lurking. These six tips can help you conquer foul odors if they are becoming a problem in your home.

  • Open the windows: Fresh air is often the best way to eliminate bad smells. Even in the middle of winter, you can open your windows for just a few minutes to get rid of odors naturally.
    Photo credit: A Simpler Thyme

    Photo credit: A Simpler Thyme

     

  • Clean: Vacuuming, washing the counters and sweeping the floors can help to prevent bad odors. Even cleaning your light bulbs can help, as warm dirty bulbs tend to give off a dusty, burning smell.
  • Decorate with candles and fresh flowers: While masking bad odors won’t completely eliminate them, it will help.

    Photo credit: Peaches & Mint

    Photo credit: Peaches & Mint

  • Find the source and remove it: Detecting why your home smells will help you determine the best way to eliminate the odor. If it’s the trash, take it out even if it’s not completely full. If you have rotten food, toss it.
  • Turn on a fan: Fans circulate air in a room and prevent the air from becoming stale. In the bathroom and kitchen, turn on your exhaust fans when cooking or showering.Breckenfield RmShot
  • Take advantage of bleach, vinegar and citrus: These items are great for getting rid of smells. If your washing machine is starting to smell moldy, run a cycle with only bleach and warm water. You can use vinegar to eliminate odors in the dishwasher or kitchen. And if your garbage disposal is the problem, cut up a lemon and run the pieces through the disposal.

No matter how bad the smell gets, there are ways to eliminate the odor. Instead of plugging your nose, try these six solutions and enjoy a fresh smell every time you walk through your front door.

By Wendy Weinert

Messy house? Here are 5 things you can blame it on

We all want a clean house, but sometimes life, kids and our own habits can get in the way. If you feel like you come home every day to a messy house, there may be a few reasons why. Here are five problems that can make it difficult to keep a clean home and how to overcome them.

#1 Your schedule is busy and you don’t have a lot of time to clean.

Busy schedule

It’s hard to keep a house clean when you’re constantly on the move or your to-do list seems to never end. Taking time to clean, however, is important because a tidy home will help you feel less stressed and more organized. Even taking 15-30 minutes each day to clean can help you accomplish more of your tasks.

#2 You tend to procrastinate.

There are many times when I see a mess and think, “I’ll get to that later.” But then the mess piles up and pretty soon I’m feeling overwhelmed. By taking care of a mess right away, whether it’s dirty dishes or a cluttered room, you can prevent the mess from becoming a disaster.

#3 You have kids, a messy spouse or roommate.

If you aren’t the only one living in your home or apartment, then you aren’t the only one making messes. Split tasks to make your messy house easier to manage, and if you have roommates, talk with them. They might not realize that you prefer a cleaner home, and they are more likely to respect your living style if you ask nicely.

#4 You have too much stuff.

Declutter with shelving units

I’m not a hoarder, but there are times when I accumulate too much stuff and realize it’s time to de-clutter. If you don’t have enough room for all of your things, sort through them and get rid of what you don’t need.

#5 You need better storage solutions.

Ottoman with storage

If everything in your home has a designated place where it should be put away, cleaning will be easier and quicker, too. Consider ways you can improve the organization of your home. Dual-purpose furniture like ottomans or beds with storage are a great way to keep your home organized without taking up more space.

By Wendy Weinert

Tricky trend: Translucents – when to use and how to use them

A clear decorative figurine displayed in the living room is one thing, but a clear coffee table or chair? That’s something different entirely. Furnishing your home with translucent furniture can be tricky – which is why I’ve compiled some tips to help make it easier. First, before you go out and buy a new clear piece of furniture, determine whether the trend can work in your home and how to best incorporate it into your interior design.

Styles that work best with translucent furnitureclear chairs

Minimalism is a defining characteristic of modern homes, and sometimes contemporary homes, too. Choosing clear furniture is one way to create the minimalist look. Furniture pieces that are entirely translucent often feature simple forms and very few details, and they also appear to take up less space than pieces made of other materials (a benefit if you have a small space). If you have a modern interior, clear furniture would enhance the style and complement your room’s setup nicely.

Interior design styles that are neither modern or contemporary typically aren’t well-suited for entirely clear furniture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have translucent elements in your home. A wooden coffee table that features a clear surface, for example, can be used in traditional homes without compromising your room’s style.

How to incorporate the trend into your home
Photo credit: Frankly Esoteric

Photo credit: Frankly Esoteric

Clear furniture is eye catching and interesting in my opinion, but too many translucent pieces in a room – even in a modern home – can appear intimidating. Balance translucent furniture with other materials, such as wood, to create warmth in your room. Placing clear chairs around a wooden dining table is one way to do this. You can also try adding clear decorative pieces to continue the translucent theme without overdoing the look.

Translucents might be a tricky trend, but it’s a trend that can give your home a bolder and more interesting appearance. Try adding clear furniture to your home’s interior design and see the difference one material can make.

By Wendy Weinert

How to fill an open shelving unit with purpose

Open shelving, to me, is a great concept. It gives people the chance to store household items and add visual appeal to their space as well. Of course, open shelving units don’t automatically bring style to a room. It all depends on what items you choose to store and where you place them. Here are some tips that I’ve found useful when filling an open shelf.

The best items to store can be considered decorative, too. open shelves with blue

Behind closed doors, it doesn’t matter what I choose to store because those objects will only be seen when the doors are open. With an open shelf, however, I’m putting items on display for all to see – which means I want to choose appealing objects. Books in the living room, dishes in the kitchen or towels in the bathroom could all be featured on open shelving units. Remember, some things should be left hidden in a cabinet!

Decorations can be used to fill empty spaces and to enhance the overall look.
Photo credit: Millas Hem

Photo credit: Millas Hem

 

There’s nothing wrong with filling an open shelf with only decorative items, but using shelves to display household objects can help you save space and keep your room organized. I think that a mix of functional and decorative items is best. Picture frames and other decor items can be used to complete the shelf display, fill an empty space and ultimately improve the look. If you want to add both visual and practical appeal, decorative storage boxes can be a great solution. They allow you to store unappealing household items and add style to your shelf.

You can show off the most appealing pieces by displaying them at eye level. open shelves silver

If your open shelving unit is positioned close to the ceiling, you can get away with storing less-appealing items. If I have a shelf at eye level, however, it matters what I choose to feature. Save your best objects, those that fit in best with your room’s design and help enhance the look, for the eye-level shelves.

Open shelving units can be a two-in-one solution for your space because they can help with both your room’s organization and its style. With these tips in mind, play around with your open shelves to determine which household items are best to feature.

By Wendy Weinert

First impressions count: How to improve your home’s curb appeal

I’m sure you already know the importance of a good first impression – after all, there’s a reason why we show up to job interviews in suits instead of sweat pants. It’s the same reason why we clean the house before guests come to stay. The interior of your home, however, is not what people will notice first. Curb appeal describes the visual attractiveness of your house when it is seen from the street. Before guests get a peak at the entryway, the living room or the guest room of your home, they will notice your home’s front yard and exterior. Boost your home’s curb appeal and make a great first impression with some of the ideas listed below.

1. Give your home a facelift with a fresh coat of paint.
Photo credit: Piece of Cake/ Piece of Mind

Photo credit: Piece of Cake/ Piece of Mind

If you’re not in love with your home’s current exterior color, choose a new one to dramatically change the appearance of your home. A new coat of paint of the same color can improve the look of your exterior and also helps protect your home from the elements.

2. Consider adding shutters.

Photo credit: PinterestI think shutters are charming and add character to one’s home. If you love shutters as much as I do, consider adding them to enhance your windows and exterior.

3. Light up your home for evening curb appeal.

landscape lightingAt night, it’s hard to make your home look inviting. Adding landscape lighting can give your home a welcoming appearance in the dark, and it also increases safety for you, your family and guests who are moving about the exterior of your home.

4. Dress up your mailbox.

mailboxI rarely see stylish mailboxes, and I think it’s a missed opportunity for homeowners to have some fun with their outdoor decor. You can either buy a new decorative mailbox or keep the one you have and give it some color. Small details like this can have a huge impact on curb appeal.

5. Add decorative touches where you can.

planterUse things such as planters next to the door or a welcome mat on your front porch. Just like the inside of your home, decorative pieces can add style and visual interest to your home’s outward appearance.

Does your home have curb appeal? If not, it may be time to dress up your home’s exterior and make a better impression to those walking by.

By Wendy Weinert