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

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

Tricks to Sizing Your Dining Room

Dining room

Working for Bellacor made me realize how much there is to consider when buying furnishings for your dining room. Not only do you have to worry about budget, color, and personal taste, you also have to consider size.
Figuring out the best size table and the perfectly proportioned fixture for your needs can be confusing. Here are the tips I use to direct people to their best pieces.

Sizing Your Dining Table

The table is the heart of the dining room. Whether you use your dining room for every meal, or only special occasions, the following tips will help you choose the most functional table for any space.
1. Make sure you have a clearance of 42”- 48” around your table. This will allow enough room for seating as well as traffic flow.
• If you have a small dining room, consider using a round table. Not only does this
maximize your small space, but it also allows for a more intimate dining experience.
• Consider choosing a square table if you have a square room. This will give more
symmetry to your space and create a more put-together look.

2. Determine how many place settings you need. Each person will need about 24” of space.
• A rectangular table has as many place settings as it does feet. A 6’ table will sit 6 people, an 8’ table will sit 8 people, and so on.
• A round table’s place settings depend on what kind of base it has. A round table with a pedestal base has 1 more place setting than feet, and a table with legs has 1 less place setting than feet. For example, a 5’ pedestal table seats 6 while a 5’ table with legs seats 4.

3. Don’t forget about seat height! Look for chairs with a 16” seat height for a table that is 27” high. For tables between 28” and 30” high, use chairs with an 18” seat height.
• Don’t worry if you and your family are very tall or on the shorter side, these are just general tips. Play around with seat height until you find the one most comfortable for you!

Dining table size chart

Photo credit: Holiday Home Times

Sizing Your Light Fixture

Now that you’ve picked out your table, let’s move on to finding the perfect overhead lighting for you. While sizing your fixture might seem overwhelming at first, here are some tips you will find illuminating.

Kichler Hayman Bay Chandelier

1. The width of your chandelier should be three-quarters to one-half as wide as your dining table. Ideally, your fixture should be about twelve inches narrower than your table to prevent your more accident-prone guests from bumping their heads.
• If you have a long, rectangular table, consider using an island pendant instead of a traditional chandelier. A longer fixture will draw your eye down the length of the table.
• Try using pendants installed on an adjustable track if you have a dining table with a leaf. This lets your lighting expand as your table does.
• For those of you choosing lighting before your furniture, just add the length and width of your room together to determine the best width for your chandelier. A 10’x10’ room would have a chandelier 20” in width.

Maxim Lighting Pendants

2. Your lighting should hang between 30”- 32” above your table. If you have a ceiling more than 8’ high, add three inches for every additional foot. For example, if you have 12’ ceilings, hang your fixture between 42”- 44” from the table.
• Low hanging lighting over a table creates intimacy while high hanging lighting creates formality. Feel free to play around with your hanging height to best fit your style, but make sure to allow enough room to comfortably enjoy your food.
• Adding tall chandelier shades can help put your chandelier in proportion with high ceilings. Try using 12” chandelier shades for high ceilings.

3. Remember to consider the visual weight of your fixture. The shape and design of your chandelier has a big effect on your vertical space.
• Sleek, light fixtures look bigger and will help fill up dining rooms with high ceilings.
• Remember that traditional style chandeliers may look smaller in spaces because of their detailed design.
Now that you know how to size up when it comes to the dryer side of design, you can focus on the fun things like color and style!

About Jessica Olson

Jessica Olson is a Minnesota blogger who writes about home decor and interior design. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.   She loves stories, pops of color, and a good joke.

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

7 Design Hacks for Any Space

Creating a space of your own is a lot of work. If you’re dreading a big move, or a little redecorating, because of all the arranging and rearranging that goes with it, take a look at these design hacks that make big projects simple.

1. Determine your focal point.
Fireplace - living room focal point

Photo credit: Casa Vogue Brasil

Whether it’s the TV, fireplace, window, or your favorite couch, decide where you want your attention focused. Once you know what to highlight, your arrangement will fall into place.

2. Use bed sheets to visualize how much space your furniture will need.

Fold bed sheets to the size of your furniture and place them around your space. You will discover which arrangement works best without having to move heavy pieces all over your room.

3. Lay your rug down first. Seriously.

If you’re using an area rug, put that in your space before you arrange your furniture. You’d be surprised how many people forget this.

4. Paper templates make hanging wall décor a breeze.
Paper templates for gallery wall

Photo credit: Rue Magazine

Cut out paper replicas of your wall décor and tape them where you want to hang your pieces. This saves your wall from unnecessary holes and helps you make sure your pieces are level.

5. Place your largest piece of furniture first.

This piece typically faces the focal point, and is the most difficult to move. Once your biggest item is in your space it will be easy to fill in the space around it.

6. Utilize dead spaces.
Console table behind sofa

Photo credit: Pinterest

Place a console table behind a sofa or stack a few decorative storage boxes in an odd corner. Your function should extend to every corner of your space, and accent furniture is a great way to add some unique character to your room.

7. Make sure there is a table near every seat.

Place an accent table by every seat

No one likes struggling to find a place to put their beverages. Consider arranging your living room so tables are easy to reach from all seats. Your future self will thank you. !

Keep these tricks in mind for an easy transition from a space to your space.

About Jessica Olson

Jessica Olson is a Minnesota blogger who writes about home decor and interior design. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.   She loves stories, pops of color, and a good joke.

 

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

Enjoy simple living by adding farmhouse style to your home

I know the farmhouse style isn’t exactly glamorous, but it does have a quiet elegance that is both charming and peaceful. Its simplicity is refreshing and I feel relaxed just browsing pictures of farmhouse interiors!

If you often dream of living in an old farmhouse, but don’t like the idea of moving out to the country, don’t worry. You can add elements of the farmhouse style to your home no matter where you live. While searching for the perfect furniture and decor, let these helpful reminders guide you along the way.

#1 Simple is beautiful

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

You don’t have to fill your home with trendy accessories, loud patterns and bold colors to design a stylish interior. By following a “less is more” attitude, your home can be a peaceful retreat.

#2 The “weathered” look is good!

Photo credit: Desire to inspire

Photo credit: Desire to inspire

It’s not too often when you’re actually encouraged to go out and buy worn-out wooden furniture, but the farmhouse style relies on weathered tables, cupboards, desks and chairs to make the look complete. Consider a fashionably worn farmhouse table for the dining room or an antique-style coffee table in the living room.

#3 Burlap and linen are essential fabrics

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

The farmhouse style isn’t smooth like silk. It’s course and textured like burlap. Consider rustic fabrics such as burlap and linen for curtains, accent pillows and other accessories.

#4 White doesn’t have to be boring

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

In farmhouses, white is almost always the dominate color. White walls, white dishes, white cabinetry…the list goes on and on! Use decorative items to incorporate brighter colors such as yellow.

#5 There’s no such thing as “too much wood”

Photo credit: Flickr

Photo credit: Flickr

Wooden furniture and counter-tops fit in perfectly with the farmhouse style. If you have hardwood floors, don’t cover them up with carpet! A rug will add warmth and still let your beautiful flooring show.

#6 A farmhouse-style house is not complete without a farmhouse sink

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

As the farmhouse style rises in popularity, so do farmhouse sinks. Add one in your kitchen for a distinct look.

You don’t have to actually live in a farmhouse to enjoy its style. The right furniture, colors and decor will transform your interior and help you create the look you want.

By Wendy Weinert

10 ways to hide the eyesores in your home

No matter how hard we try to make our homes stylish and beautiful, there are many little details, like cords or scratched wood, that diminish its visual appeal. Try hiding those eyesores in the home with these 10 creative strategies and it’ll make your interior design shine.

1. Seek out stylish storage solutions, like a decorative box or vintage suitcases that can also be used as decor. After all, who says you have to use ugly plastic tubs to keep your home organized?

Photo credit: 17 Apart

Photo credit: 17 Apart

 

2. Cover up clutter or lackluster space with a beautiful screen. It will instantly lend your room a more elegant look.

screen

3. Cut holes in a decorative box to hide your cords and outlet strip. Or, place your furniture strategically so that cords fall behind it.

Photo credit: Sweet Sanity

Photo credit: Sweet Sanity

 

4. Freshen up your weathered wooden furniture with a fresh coat of paint in a bold color. Paint can also be used to cover up unattractive flooring and walls.

Photo Credit: My Cotton Creations

Photo Credit: My Cotton Creations

 

5. Install a pull-out trash and recycling bin in your kitchen. This will also help to reduce bad odors!

Photo credit: DO or DIY

Photo credit: DO or DIY

 

6. Use a stylish bed skirt to hide your box spring, as well as storage underneath the bed.bed skirt

 

7. Build pull-out drawers for your pet’s food and water dishes. When guests come over, you can simply close the drawer.

Photo credit: The San Francisco Glose

Photo credit: The San Francisco Globe

 

8. Cover up an unattractive view with beautiful curtains. If you still want to let in natural light, opt for a more sheer fabric.

curtains

9. Design an attractive bathroom by filling stylish, reusable bottles with your soaps and lotions.

Soap Dispenser

10. Hide a dirty spot on the carpet by placing a colorful rug on top. Rugs aren’t just for covering hardwood floors, after all!

colorful rug
By Wendy Weinert

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

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