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

3 ways to love your new studio apartment

Moving into a studio apartment might be a breath of fresh air for those looking to escape the roommate lifestyle. But for many, it’s a shocking change – especially those who like to live large. With the right attitude, some time and a few adjustments, I’ve found that it’s easy to love a small space. Here’s what to do so you can love yours.

Photo credit: homedit

Photo credit: homedit

Simplify

I know it’s hard to part ways with clothes and miscellaneous items that you’ve collected over the years, but getting rid of the things you don’t need is necessary (unless you didn’t have much stuff to begin with). People who don’t like their studio apartments often complain of clutter and little space. Simplifying will prevent you from becoming one of those people.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Hurry Home, Honey

Downsize

Do you really need a king bed and over-sized sofa, or could you do just fine with smaller alternatives? Downsize your furniture to match the size of your apartment. Not only will it provide more room, but the furniture will then be scaled more appropriately to the space.

Room divider

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Define

Much like an open floor plan (only much less spacious), studio apartments generally combine the dining area, entrance, living room and bedroom in one large room. Set up furniture and accessories strategically to create clearly defined areas. If you want some privacy in the bedroom area, I’ve found a decorative screen divider or a large shelving unit will make for a great “wall.”

You’ve always said you wanted to simplify and get organized and here’s your chance! You may need some time to adjust, but I’m sure you’ll soon come to love your new studio apartment.

By Wendy Weinert

Stage your home to sell with these 3 tricks

Staging a home for selling isn’t as simple as decorating the space to match your preferred style. Think about the qualities you look for when touring potential houses. If you’re like me, you want the home to appear spacious, functional and inviting, as well as versatile so it can easily be changed to match your tastes. There are many tips and strategies you can implement to sell your home successfully, but I found these three tricks to be the most helpful.

Elk Lighting lights up a living room

1. Get rid of the clutter

I’m not talking about the piles of magazines that used to sit on your coffee table – you already knew to get rid of those. I’m talking about furniture. It’s essential that your home looks bigger and more open, and having too much furniture can create exactly the opposite effect. Go from room to room and see if there are pieces that aren’t really necessary or are simply taking up space.

Baxter - Elk Lighting

2. Keep the style neutral

I might love the eclectic style, but I wouldn’t decorate my home to be eclectic if I were trying to sell it. Everyone has different tastes, and even though a home’s style can be changed easily, it’s hard for potential buyers to picture a different look in their minds. Keep the style as neutral as possible to attract the largest number of people.

Elk Lighting - Galaxy

3. Improve the lighting

I would much rather purchase a home that appeared welcoming and open rather than dark and cramped. Wouldn’t you? The right amount of lighting can make a huge difference in how inviting a room looks, so consider increasing your bulb wattage and make sure you have a combination of overhead, task and accent lighting.

If you’re having trouble selling your home, you might just need to rethink your decorating strategy. Simple tricks like these can help you sell your home quickly and for the right price.

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 trend that’s here to stay: ombre and interior design

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

Photo credit: Etsy

Ombre became a popular trend on the runway last year and now the look can be seen everywhere, from hair styles to cake designs and even interior design. The word ombre describes when colors gradually fade into each other, usually from light to dark. For example, in fashion you might see an ombre skirt that starts white but gradually shifts shades into bright pink. This popular trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and it’s easy to see why. The look can be casual, sophisticated or simply fun depending on the colors you choose and the shading technique used. Here are some ideas for incorporating ombre into your own home’s interior design.

1. Paint the walls 

If you want to go bold, an ombre wall is the way to go. You may have to hire a professional to get the look just right, or you could also consider hanging up ombre wallpaper. If you like the dip-dye look but would rather make a subtle statement, start with a dark color of your choice on the bottom. Have it gradually change to a lighter shade within that same color family, rather than white.

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

2. Incorporate ombre with bedding or curtains

You might like ombre now, but if you think you’d only enjoy it for a year or two, try to incorporate the look into accessories that can be switched out easily, such as your curtains or bedspread. Decorating with trendy accessories allows you to keep your home up to date on all of the latest styles.

The trend that's here to stay: ombre and interior design

3. Update your furniture

Even furniture can feature the ombre style. Add a new chair in the living room that features the dip-dye style or give an old dresser new life by following this fun DIY ombre project.

Ombre may be the latest craze, but it doesn’t look like it’s going out of style anytime soon. Use any of these ideas to freshen up your home with ombre and give your space a new look!

By Wendy Weinert

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

During the summer season, people often head to their cottage or cabin to take a break from the ordinary and enjoy a relaxing weekend. With the right interior design, you can enjoy that cottage-like coziness in your home every day. Consider these five decorating tips to get started.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

1. Bring the outdoors in 

Cottages are typically set up in a quiet, scenic area. Even if you live in a large city, you can use natural elements and decor to enjoy the soothing qualities of the outdoors. Find furniture made from materials such as wicker and decorate your home with fresh flowers to design a space that allows you to feel relaxed.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

2. Find a few antiques 

The wicker chairs you use in the living room will lend a casual, cozy feel to your interior. You can take the look further with antique furniture or accessories that you’ve received as a family heirloom or found at a local antique store. A few antiques here and there will also add an elegant touch to the cottage look.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

3. Layer with blankets, rugs and pillows

In order for your home to feel like a cottage, it needs to be cozy. Use a combinations of throw blankets, rugs and accent pillows wherever you can to add warmth in the rooms and to create a comfortable space.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

4. Throw in a splash of color

The cottage style typically consists of neutral, light colors. You can, of course, add a pop of color to liven up a room or make it appear more cheerful. Incorporate a color that makes you happy, such as yellow or blue, into accessories like your pillows or a lamp.

Cozy up your space with a cottage-style interior

5. Add a fireplace

Nothing adds coziness to a home better than a fireplace, and it doesn’t have to be the middle of winter to enjoy one. Install a fireplace in the living room for the whole family to enjoy on a chilly night.

Wish you could get away for a weekend? What if you could rejuvenate right at home? With a cottage-style interior, you can feel cozy and relaxed any day of the wee

By Wendy Weinert

 

9 things you don’t want for a “Home Sweet Home”

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

Turning a house into a home takes time, but the end result is worth the effort. When you feel at home in your space, it becomes a place of refuge. A place where you can go to feel relaxed, happy and refreshed. Allow yourself to enjoy a “Home Sweet Home” by focusing on your interior’s setup and avoiding these nine design problems.

1. Bad lighting: Lighting should always be one of the first elements of the room’s design that you consider. Use multiple light sources in each room to create a space that is well lit without being too harsh.

2. Uncomfortable furniture: With so many designs available today, you should never have to sacrifice comfort for style.

3. Tacky wall art: The wall art you bought in college may have been fine for dorm life, but it just looks cheap and tacky hanging in your nice home. Replace it with a more sophisticated alternative, or use wallpaper to add visual interest.

4. A cluttered interior: A cluttered home will make you feel stressed. Make sure every personal belonging has its place and get rid of unnecessary junk.

5. Cheap furnishings: You might save some money on the initial purchase, but cheap furniture will wear down more quickly, forcing you to replace it more often. Instead, invest in quality pieces you can enjoy for a long time.

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

6. An undecided style: Your home looks traditional, but there are some contemporary elements that stick out. Choose a particular style that you want your home to represent and stick to it when purchasing new furniture or decor.

7. A cramped space: Clutter isn’t the only culprit of feeling cramped in your space. Paint small rooms light colors and use mirrors to make them appear larger.

9 things you don't want for a "Home Sweet Home"

8. An unwelcoming entryway: You want to feel happy every time you walk through your front door. Make sure it is well lit, and add a few decorative pieces to create a cheerful appearance.

9. A catalog design: Instead of setting up your room to match the store’s catalog, use your unique style to guide your purchase decisions. Setting up a home to reflect your personality is the easiest way to turn your house into home sweet home.

By Wendy Weinert

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

You’ve set up a coffee table in front of the sofa, a pendant light is hung up over your kitchen island and a large area rug is covering your hardwood floors. In interior design, there are many patterns that homeowners follow when setting up their space. While these unwritten guidelines can help you design a functional space, they can also make your home appear too predictable if you’re not careful. Spice up your bland interior with these five traditional decor items. Although the products themselves are not unique, the designs are; in fact, they just might give your home the personality it needs to stand out.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique
1. Arteriors Home Vern Rusted Iron and Jute Rope Wrapped Lamp

With jute rope featured on the base, this design puts a nautical twist on the traditional table lamp. Now you can get the task lighting you need in the bedroom or living room and still give your space an interesting look.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

2. Troy Sausalito Five-Light Drum Pendant    

Almost every kitchen that has an island also has a pendant light above it. This light fixture gives the traditional linen-shade pendant a boost by adding an elegant iron cage finished in silver and gold tones.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

3. Modway Furniture Transparent Coffee Table in Clear  

Forget about the traditional wooden coffee table. If you have a modern or contemporary interior, use this glass table to enhance the style and add a unique element to the room.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

4.  2-Day Designs Wine Barrel Side Table  

Furniture with history always makes a great conversation piece. Combining old-world charm and modern lines, this former wine barrel has been re-purposed into a beautiful accent table to give your home personality.

5 traditional decor pieces made unique

5. Surya Rugs Fallon Gray Rectangular  

Large traditional area rugs often feature elaborate details and a variety of rich colors. This elegant rug instead has a simple design and a two-tone color scheme to fit in with contemporary homes.old world charm

Does your interior look the same as every one else’s? A few great unique pieces here and there can be just what your space needs to gain a fresh new look and impress your friends.

 

By Wendy Weinert

 

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

Every year you add another home improvement project to your list. Pretty soon the list will feel almost impossible to complete! Start tackling some of those projects this summer with these five home improvement ideas. With warmer weather and longer days, summer is the perfect season for making your home a more enjoyable place to live.

1. Replace light bulbs and fixtures

Are you still using old-style incandescent light bulbs? Replace them with newer versions that are more energy-efficient.You’ll save money on bills and won’t have to replace them as often in the future. While replacing your bulbs, see if you have any outdated fixtures that don’t really fit in with your home’s style anymore. Now is the time to update those, too.

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

2. Repair or replace window screens

In the summer, you’re going to want to enjoy fresh air by opening your windows. But, if you’re missing a screen or it is torn, bugs could get into your home. You certainly don’t want to spend your time swatting at flies, so replace or repair your window screens right away and start enjoying the outdoor breeze inside your house.

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

Photo credit: Designsponge

3. Remove old wallpaper

Does your home still have that old 70s wallpaper in the living room? Open the windows, turn on some tunes and update that ugly print with contemporary wallpaper or a fresh coat of paint. This simple change will refresh your room and bring it to the present.

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

4. Set up your patio with outdoor furniture

Outdoor entertaining is the perfect way to enjoy summer, but you can’t host guests without furniture. Determine how you want to use your patio – whether for dinner or drinks and conversation – and choose furniture to match.

The Best Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Summer

5. Add a raised garden bed

Start growing all those plants and herbs you’ve been meaning to plant by installing a raised garden bed in your yard. The sooner you tackle this project, the sooner you can start enjoying fresh produce!

If the idea of tackling projects this summer sounds far from appealing, make each task more fun by enlisting help and working to your favorite songs. All of your hard work will pay off in the end!

By Wendy Weinert