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.

 

Should sofas be placed against the wall?

When arranging a living room, it’s often best to place the sofa first. Where will you put it? For years homeowners and renters have been setting up their sofas against the wall. It seems like such a natural spot! But there are designers who say that sofas should “float” and that placing one against the wall is a rookie mistake. So what’s the best arrangement? Well, that might depend on your preference and space.

Keep these considerations in mind when choosing the perfect spot for your sofa.

The room’s size

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

If you have a large, spacious living room, placing your sofa in the middle can keep the room from looking bare. A small living room, on the other hand, might appear larger with the sofa placed against the wall.

Your home’s layout

Photo Credit: Hemingway and Hepburn

Photo Credit: Hemingway and Hepburn

With open-floor layouts, it’s important that each room is clearly defined with furniture. If you don’t have walls separating rooms, float your sofa to create one. You can also use your sofa to create a clear walking path and direct traffic.

Living room activities

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Photo credit: Apartment Therapy

Sofas can also be used to define areas within the living room. If you want to use one half of your room for movie watching and the other half as a game room for the kids, use your sofa to divide the two areas.

Wall decor

Photo credit: Home-Dzine

Photo credit: Home-Dzine

A long unadorned wall can cause a room to look incomplete. If your wall needs that something extra to keep it from looking bare, push your sofa against it. You can also float the sofa just a little bit off the wall for a similar effect.

Other living room furniture

Photo Credit: Cote de Texas

Photo Credit: Cote de Texas

Sometimes a sofa can look great both off and against the wall; if this is the case in your space, then its placement is a matter of personal preference. What is important, however, is that you don’t push all of your furniture against the wall. People often do this, not realizing that it looks uninviting to guests and makes conversing rather difficult.

What about you? Do you think sofas should be placed against the wall? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

A quick guide to sofa styles

I recently discovered that the terms “sofa” and “couch,” according to their original definitions, actually described two different pieces of furniture. Although very interesting, knowing the difference between a sofa and couch might not help you when buying furniture, as most people now use the two words interchangeably. What’s important to know instead are sofa styles. Here’s a quick guide that will help you when shopping online.

Camel back: These sofas have a “humped” back, which makes them easy to recognize. Camel-back sofas are usually found in traditional or contemporary homes due to their curved lines.

Inverted camel back

Lawson-style: If your top priority is comfort, a Lawson-style sofa might be your best choice. These sofas are unique because the back cushions are not attached to the frame.

Lawson Style Sofa

Chesterfield: Chesterfield sofas have a sophisticated style due to their tufted design and rolled arms. You’ll find them better suited for more formal environments, such as traditional homes.

Chesterfield Sofa

English: Also known as the “club sofa,” the English sofa has low, rolled arms that are hardly noticeable, which makes it great for casual homes.

English

Mid-century modern: If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, you’ve seen a Mid-century modern sofa. These sofas feature clean lines and simple forms.

Mid-century modern sofa

Settee: A settee looks more like a wide chair than it does a sofa. Although not the most comfortable choice, settees are beautifully elegant and fit in great with antique-style rooms.Settee

 

Chaise lounge: Go glam with a chaise lounge. These sofas either have one arm or none at all, and they are designed to allow people to relax and recline in style.

Chaise Lounge

Loveseat: Built just for two, a loveseat is a great choice for those who have small spaces or just need additional seating. Loveseats can come in various sofa styles, but are made smaller.

Loveseat

Sleeper sofa: If you don’t have a guest room but have company over often, a sleeper sofa might be worth considering. These sofas can be pulled out into a bed whenever you have overnight guests.

Sleeper

Sectional: Sectionals come in either L-shaped or U-shaped forms, and they are designed to provide you with more seating. They come in separate pieces, allowing you to rearrange based on your living room’s layout.

Sectional

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

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

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

 

The best color choices for every room

When it comes to selecting colors for decorating your space, it’s important to carefully consider your options. The colors you choose will not only add style to your space and bring out your personality, they actually can impact your mood, too! Use this guide to help you choose the right color for the various rooms in your home.

Fresnel MINIPENDANTS_P5188-09

Kitchen: The kitchen is a highly functional space where you probably clean, cook and socialize. More than likely, it’s not a room where you go to relax. Try adding small doses of yellow in the room, which can help make you feel happy and energized. Just be careful not to overdo it; too much yellow in one room can often feel overwhelming.

The best color choices for every room

Photo credit: Branca Interiors

Dining room: Along with yellow, red makes a great color choice for dining rooms. Red is a very stimulating color and encourages healthy appetites along with conversations and excitement. This is good if you like to entertain guests frequently or use the dining room for nightly family meals.

The best color choices for every room

Photo credit: House to House

Living room: The color you decorate your living room might depend on how you want to feel in that particular space. Lavender makes a good choice if you want the living room to feel calming and welcoming. If you want a more stimulating environment, however, red is the better choice.

Bedroom: The bedroom is a space where you should be able to relax, sleep and rejuvenate, which means loud colors like red and orange should not be used. Green is the perfect color for the bedroom, and it’s actually so versatile that it can be used in almost any room of the house. It is calming, refreshing and warm all at the same time.

The best color choices for every room

Home office: If you often work from home, it’s important that you are able to be productive. The best color for home offices is blue, which has been said to help people concentrate and boost productivity.

This guide, of course, is flexible and does not have to be followed exactly. It can help you, make wiser choices, however, when it comes time to decorate your space so you can feel happier and more content in your home.

By Wendy Weinert

Regret your new furniture purchase? Here’s how to deal with it.

Regret your new furniture purchase? Here’s how to deal

After spending weeks browsing different options, you’ve finally chosen the perfect chair for your living room. Or so you thought. Now that you’ve actually put it in your living room, the chair doesn’t seem so perfect anymore. Regretting a new furniture purchase is a common occurrence and many people immediately want to return the item. The best solution, however, for dealing with regret is a bit surprising: wait for the feeling to pass.

Regret your new furniture purchase? Here’s how to deal

How many times have you gotten a haircut and at first were unsure about the new style, but eventually you grew to love it? The same situation often occurs after buying new furniture. Change is hard to adapt to, so even if your new furniture works – possibly even better than what you had previously – it may take you some time to realize it and adjust.

Regret your new furniture purchase? Here’s how to deal

Photo credit: Maisonboheme

Any new furniture, whether it’s a light fixture or a rug, can cause you to question your purchase decision. There are certain factors, though, that might make the adjustment even more difficult. If you incorporate a bold new color, pattern or print into a room, for example, you’ll need more time to get used to it than if you had just went with something basic and low-key. You’ll also find that size can influence how you feel about your new purchase. If you’re replacing one furniture item with something much larger, you’re likely at first to feel that the new piece looks out of place due to its larger size.

In general, the best way to handle your buyer’s regret is to give yourself enough time to adjust. You can also gather second opinions from friends and family who don’t live in your home and therefore can be more objective. More than likely, you’ll find that the new item not only works, but that you actually love having it in your home.

By Wendy Weinert

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

If a stranger were to walk into your home, what would that person learn about you based on your interior design? Every home should tell a story, and putting together that story is exactly what interior designer Diego Rincon loves to do best.

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

The designer was recently featured in Rue Magazine, where he shares what influenced him to enter the world of interior design. According to the article, Rincon was inspired to study architecture after admiring his grandparents’ house in Colombia, which his grandfather had designed himself. Clearly, a knack for creating beautiful spaces runs in the family, because after following his dreams, Rincon now owns his own company named Diego Alejandro Design, and has offices both in Manhattan and Miami.

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

Diego Alejandro: New York City Loft

Now a big-time designer, Rincon helps clients create homes that are comfortable, beautiful and intriguing. One of the most interesting aspects about Rincon’s work is his ability to turn a space into the story of a person’s life. A sofa or a lamp might just be pieces of furniture to you, but to Rincon, every piece of furniture has something to say, and can help turn a space into a reflection of who you are and where you’ve been. In the article, the designer talks about his favorite project, a two-story loft he put together for an advertising executive. While Rincon drew inspirations from his own life and places that he lived, he said that overall, “the space reflects the stories of my client’s life – where he’s been, what he’s done, and what he’s seen.”

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

Diego Alejandro: Meridian 5, Miami

Everyone has a story to tell, and using design to create a narrative is one of Rincon’s favorite things to do. In the article, Rincon stated “I love when someone asks me to design a space that’s personal and uniquely them.”

Designer spotlight: Diego Rincon helps clients’ tell their story with design

Diego Alejandro: Santa Marta, Columbia

You might not be able to hire a big-time designer like Diego Rincon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a space that is unique to you. Whenever you look at a new piece of artwork, or are trying to decide on a new sofa, look to see how you can tell your story through design.

By Wendy Weinert

Mad about ‘Mad Men’s’ midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Dapper suits, cocktails and advertising – who’s ready for “Mad Men” to start up again?  The seventh and final season of AMC’s award-winning series, which starts on Sunday, April 13, will bring back everyone’s favorite characters, dramas and, of course, that incredible midcentury modern style.

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Mad Men set

As its name suggests, midcentury modern was first popular from the early 1950s to about 1970 and, when the look went out of style, only hardcore design enthusiasts remained appreciative fans. But that’s all changed now. Ever since “Mad Men” first started in 2007, viewers have been fawning over the show’s sophisticated set and, thankfully, characteristics of the midcentury modern style have now made their way back into people’s homes.

Interested in bringing a little of that “Mad Men” style into your own home? Here are some general rules to keep in mind.

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Photo credit: Modern Constructs

Less is more

This style does not encourage over-accessorizing or ornate detailing. Look for furniture pieces that feature clean lines and simple forms and choose your accent décor carefully. While less is more in midcentury modern, don’t be fooled into thinking that the look is boring. This style is all about making an impact with fewer pieces.

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Make a statement with light fixtures

Like I said before, it’s important that you make every piece count and this style especially loves to make a statement with light fixtures. Look for pendants or chandeliers with clean, geometric lines that help dramatize your space and bring it to life.

Mad about 'Mad Men’s' midcentury modern design: how to bring the look to your own home

Contrast neutrals with bright colors

Natural, earthy hues are a staple in midcentury modern design, but it’s essential that the look is completed with a few strong colors in each room. Add pops of color to your space with bold wall art, throw pillows or curtains.

You don’t have to get your midcentury modern fix just by watching “Mad Men.” The best part about midcentury modern furniture is that you can pair pieces with other common styles to create a look that shows influences of the past, but still fits in with this decade.

By Wendy Weinert