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

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

How to decorate a narrow hallway

Every room in your home has been carefully decorated and furnished to match your exact style. But what about the hallways? In my opinion, hallways are trickier to decorate, especially if they are narrow. Keep these tips in mind before you get started.

Keep it tidy

Cluttered hallways make it difficult to walk from one room to another. Keep everything tidy with a hallway bench or shelves. Since you’re furnishing a narrow hallway, it’s best to look for a design that isn’t too wide.

Decorate the walls

Photo credit: Flickr

Photo credit: Flickr

Narrow hallways already have limited space, so why crowd it even more? While a bookcase or bench can keep your hallway organized, you don’t want to go overboard with the furniture and decor. Instead, try hanging up decorative art, pictures or mirrors to make your hallway pop.

Light it up

Photo credit: Style Me Pretty Living

Photo credit: Style Me Pretty Living

A long narrow hallway can look intimidating without proper lighting. Add as many light fixtures as you need to ensure that the hallway is evenly lit. This is also a chance to add more visual interest – I love seeing eye-catching pendants or wall sconces used in the hallway.

Paint with light colors

Photo Credit: Young House Love

Photo Credit: Young House Love

The general rule of thumb when decorating a small space is to paint the walls a light color. This is because dark colors can make a room appear smaller, while lighter shades do the opposite. If you like darker colors, use them for accents instead.

Even a narrow hallway can be stylish with the right decor and color scheme. Try incorporating these tips into your hallway’s design and love every inch of your home.

By Wendy Weinert

Prepare your home for back to school with these 5 ideas

School’s almost in session! Now’s the time to start preparing your home for another busy year. Here are five ways you can organize and set up your home for back-to-school success.

1. Create a homework nook

Click on the picture to see how this desk flips open.

A dedicated study area can help your student stay focused at home, but you don’t have to turn an entire room into a homework station. I’ve found that an unused hallway space or room corner can be the perfect spot. Be sure to provide essentials like task lighting, counter space and a comfortable chair.

2. Seek out smarter storage solutionsdoor organizer

Trying to streamline your morning routine? Start with organization. A hanging shoe organizer in the closet, a storage bench in the mudroom and additional shelves in the bathroom can improve efficiency and help you and your kids easily find personal items in the morning.

3. Rethink bedroom designsblue bedroom

Quality sleep is essential for studying and feeling energized. Consider whether your kids’ bedrooms are designed to promote healthy sleep. An uncomfortable mattress, electronics in the bedroom and even the wrong color palette can reduce sleep quality. According to a study published in the Daily Mail, blue and yellow are the best colors for sleep, while purple is the worst.

4. Have a designated spot for your keys

I can’t count the number of times I have been late because of a lost set of keys. To prevent this from happening to you, pick a designated spot for your keys, such as a hook on the wall.

5. Create a centralized calendarcalendar dry erase

With so many activities, events, doctor appointments and social engagements going on during the school year, you’re going to need a system to keep all of the schedules straight. Hang a centralized calendar in the kitchen, one that has big enough squares so you can write down several reminders for the same day.

School will be here before you know it. Start off the year right with a few organizational and design changes in your home.

By Wendy Weinert

Mixing patterns 101: How to effectively mix and match patterns in your home

Mixing patterns in the same room can lend a designer look to your space, but doing so can also create a chaotic appearance depending on the patterns you choose. Read on to learn how you can pull off the look and add a designer touch to your home.

Photo Credit: Centsational Style

Photo Credit: Centsational Style

The number of patterns you choose for your room can influence whether they work together or not. Odd numbers tend to look more appealing, so incorporate a minimum of three patterns in each space. While it’s not a hard and fast rule, the 60-30-10 strategy can make decorating easier. With the 60-30-10 approach, 60 percent of the patterns will be your favorite one out of the three, 30 percent your second favorite and use the third pattern (10 percent) as an accent.

Photo Credit: The Southern Thing

Photo Credit: The Southern Thing

Color is also important when mixing and matching patterns. An easy way to ensure that various patterns will create a cohesive look is to find patterns that feature the same colors. Polka dots and stripes can go together well when matching colors are involved.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you want to mix colors as well as patterns, make sure the colors are at least the same intensity. Vibrant hues might not work well with soft pastels.

My last piece of advice? Use your instincts. You might have to play around with different patterns to create a look you feel good about, but your gut will tell you whether the mixed designs are stylish or just a mess.

By Wendy Weinert

Enjoy a more peaceful home with these 7 tips

I recently shared an article on farmhouse style and how its simple characteristics can make a home feel very peaceful. The farmhouse style isn’t for everyone, though, and you don’t have to enjoy country living to create a relaxing and quiet home. No matter what your preferred decorating style is, you can design a more peaceful environment with these quick tips.

1. If bright colors are energizing and oftentimes too stimulating, try decorating with muted colors instead. A softer shade of your favorite color can help you to feel more relaxed. (If you’re trying to decide on a color, blue is well-known for its calming effects!)

Blue walls are calming

Photo credit: Pinterest

2. To keep your overhead lighting from feeling too bright, install a dimmer switch that will soften the lighting. At night, you can add even more ambience by lighting a few candles.

3. I know cleaning doesn’t exactly sound relaxing, but keeping your floors and surfaces clear will help to reduce stress. At the end of the day or right away in the morning, set aside 10 minutes or so to tidy up each room so you can enjoy a clean home for the rest of the day.

4. If your home is lacking in decor, try bringing in some fresh flowers and plants. The natural scents will help you feel calm and some plants can even purify your home’s air.

Fresh Flowers

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

5. I think most people would agree with me when I say that nature is very peaceful. Along with decorating with plants, you can bring the outdoors inside with natural materials like jute or wicker.

Natural fiber rug

Photo credit: House of Turquoise

6. A simple decorating scheme is refreshing. Be careful not to add too many complicated patterns in one room or overcrowd your space with decorative accessories.

7. Are the loud neighbors or annoying traffic patterns causing you to feel stressed? Tune them out with soft music or consider buying a decorative water fountain.

Indoor Fountain

Whether your home is modern or traditional, you can enjoy a more peaceful environment. Try incorporating a few of these tips in your house and see how they work for you!

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

 

Layer your rugs for an interesting look

Photo credit: The Glitter Guide

Photo credit: The Glitter Guide

I don’t know if you all have heard, but layering rugs is in style – and I love that it is. I think there are many benefits to laying one rug on top of another. For example, if you have a beautiful rug that you want to display in the living room, but it is too small, layering a larger rug underneath is often the perfect solution. Layering rugs can also lend a designer look to your home, as it is bold and sometimes tricky to pull off.

If you like the layering rug trend as much as I do, here are some ideas for making it work.

Photo credit: Carla Aston

Photo credit: Carla Aston

1. Combine bright colors and interesting patterns with a neutral rug

One of the easiest ways to pull off the layered look is to pair a natural fiber rug in a neutral color with a very detailed and colorful one. When placing the colorful rug on top, make sure there is an equal amount of exposed rug around all sides underneath. Bonus point: this could also help you save some money, as large Oriental rugs can get expensive!

 

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

2. Use two or more rugs to create one larger rug

Instead of placing one rug directly on top of another, try setting them up side by side, with the edges slightly overlapping. This style is popular when using cowhide or sheepskin rugs, but you can try the look with other shapes, fabrics and styles as well. Just be sure the two rugs complement each other in some way.

Photo credit: SF Girl by Bay

Photo credit: SF Girl by Bay

3. Create an eclectic style by layering two different patterns

Layering a neutral rug with one that features intricate patterns and a variety of colors is easy. Pairing two or more rugs together that all show different patterns is much harder! To create a cohesive look, try finding different rugs that all feature a similar style. Two tribal-print rugs make sense together, but a tribal print mixed with a floral pattern might not.

These ideas will help get you started, but there are other ways to layer rugs as well. Play around with what you have and see what works!

By Wendy Weinert

Bring personality to your dining room by mixing and matching chairs

 

Mismatched dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

 

Who says your dining chairs have to match? While it’s perfectly okay to purchase a dining table and chairs as a set, you could be missing an opportunity to create a unique look for your space. Mixing and matching chairs allows you to add some fun and personality to your dining room, which is especially useful if you don’t have a lot of space to decorate.

Keep in mind as you mix chairs that there still needs to be a unifying element tying them together. Here are four unifying characteristics to consider:

Color

Even if every chair around your table consists of a different design, the overall look will still appear put together and intentional if they all feature the same color. It may be difficult to find chairs that all have the exact same shade, but you can always paint them if the chairs aren’t upholstered.

Mismatched blue dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

Material 

Just like with color, you can place different chairs in the dining room that are made up of the same material, such as wood, to create a unique, cohesive look. You don’t even have to use just chairs. Consider placing a bench on one or more sides of the table and let guests be impressed by your creativity.

Mismatched wood dining chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

Patterns

If you prefer upholstered chairs, look for different chairs that feature the same pattern. For example, if you like stripes, you can surround your table with chairs that all have the same striped pattern. Or you can mix striped chairs with chairs that have no pattern at all to keep the look from appearing too busy overall.

Mismatched upholstered chairs featuring the same pattern

Photo credit: Pinterest

Style

Every decorating style consists of unique elements, so use those elements to mix and match your dining chairs. For a traditional dining room, you can use the style’s characteristics – such as detailed carvings and dark wood tones – to find unity among your chairs. If you have a modern dining room, seek out chairs that are simple and sleek.

Modern mismatched chairs

Photo credit: Pinterest

If your dining room is lacking the excitement you would like, have some fun mixing and matching dining chairs to create visual interest. With a quirky setup, you’ll never have to worry about your style being bland or predictable!

By Wendy Weinert

 

The modern floral: why it’s not just your grandmother’s print anymore

The modern floral: why it's not just your grandmother's print anymore

Photo credit: BHG

You bring fresh flowers into your home all of the time to add color, beauty and energy to your space. As soon as someone suggests decorating with a floral print, though, you cringe a little and remember the wallpaper in your grandmother’s old home. Like many trends from your grandmother’s time, floral prints went out of style and the look became dated. However, just like many fads from the past, floral prints are making a comeback. This time around, you can choose from modern and elegant designs to complement your contemporary interior.

The modern floral: why it's not just your grandmother's print anymore

The big and bold floral

To put a modern twist on the traditional floral print, many designers are giving it a bolder look by featuring just one large flower in an eye-catching color. Decorating with a bold flower graphic will take out any of the “granny” vibes outdated floral prints tend to give off, so you don’t have to worry about living in a tacky home.

The modern floral: why it's not just your grandmother's print anymore

Photo credit: Etsy

The black and white floral

People have this idea of floral prints as being too girly, but that’s not always the case with today’s designs. If you’re decorating a room that you want to keep looking fairly neutral, pick out a simple color scheme like white and black. The contrasting colors will look great in your modern home and won’t make your interior design appear overwhelmingly feminine.

The modern floral: why it's not just your grandmother's print anymore

The understated floral

If you’re still a little hesitant to rock a floral print in your home, start small with an understated design such as the one shown in this floral etched glass urn table lamp. The elegant details give the lamp character, and you won’t have to worry about the floral design overtaking your space.

Keep your home energized all year long with a modern floral print. If you select the right design, a floral upholstered chair or rug can be the perfect addition to your space.

floral

By Wendy Weinert