Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

After months of cold weather and snow, spring has finally arrived, and soon you can put that outdoor patio space to good use. Outdoor patios are the perfect place for entertaining during the warm spring and summer months – all you need is the right furniture, décor and these three helpful tips:

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

1. Arrange your space to match the occasion

Will your patio be used for afternoon cook-outs or for sophisticated dinners during the evening? Maybe your outdoor space will be a place where friends and family can simply gather for conversation and to enjoy the sunshine. Before you start browsing patio furniture, consider the different ways you might use your outdoor space so you can create a comfortable environment to match the style of entertaining you prefer.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: Kate Byer Interior Design

2. Don’t forget about the lighting

While the sun can light up your space during the day, you’ll need outdoor lighting for evening entertaining so your guests can see each other! Make sure to set up the proper outdoor lighting so you can use your patio any time of the day. If you don’t have an outdoor electrical outlet, solar or candle-filled lanterns will also do the trick.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

3. Add comfort with decorative pillows

Let’s face it – outdoor patio furniture is never going to be as comfortable as that plush sofa in your living room. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to suffer hard chairs or benches. Use accent pillows for décor and to add comfort around the outdoor patio area. You can even use a large pillow as an extra seat if you run out of chairs!

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: La Dolce Vita

4. Make the most of the space you have

If your patio is small, simply work with what you have and find ways to maximize your space. For example, you can set up furniture around the perimeter of your space to provide room for movement and mingling. If your space is primarily for conversation, simply bunch furniture closer together to create a more intimate and cozy experience.

Don’t let the warm weather go to waste. With these tips in mind, you can set up your outdoor patio and enjoy months of entertaining fun!

By Wendy Weinert

DIY projects: 3 creative uses for old household items

DIY projects: 4 creative uses for old household items

Photo credit: Design Sponge

When household items get old or are no longer needed, we have the habit of just throwing them out. But what if you could turn that old product into something better? Repurposing household items is a great way to save money and give your home some character. Get inspired with these four creative uses for old household items and let your crafty side take over!

DIY projects: 4 creative uses for old household items

Photo credit: Bob Vila

1. Turn a light bulb into a candle

Even a burned-out bulb can still be used as a light source. Simply upcycle the old bulb and make it into a unique-looking candle! All you have to do is fill the bulb with lamp oil, use hemp string as the wicker and glue a washer to the bottom to make the light bulb stand up straight.

DIY projects: 4 creative uses for old household items

Photo credit: Furnish Burnish

2. Hang up a small step ladder as a display shelf

Ladders can be used for more than just reaching that hard-to-reach shelf. If you have an old wooden ladder that you aren’t sure what to do with anymore, hang it on the wall and use the ladder to display decorative items like pictures. Depending on the style of your home, you can choose to paint the ladder or not.

DIY projects: 4 creative uses for old household items

Photo credit: Design Revolution

3. Create a medicine cabinet out of old luggage

Feeling really creative? Then make your own medicine cabinet out of old luggage. A vintage luggage medicine cabinet will give your bathroom space a unique look that will intrigue guests. All you have to do is add the mirror of your choice, insert a shelf, if necessary, and hang the suitcase above the sink.

Ready to get crafty? Start putting your old household items to better use with these easy-to-do projects.

By Wendy Weinert

Gold, Silver or Bronze: Choosing the Right Color For Your Bathroom

Photo credit: JJT Trading

Photo credit: JJT Trading

Whether your bathroom is traditional, modern, or eclectic, finding the right color fixtures that match the overall style of your remodel can be a daunting process. Today’s fixtures are available in a variety of different metals, finishes, and price ranges, but are dominated by three main colors: gold, silver, and bronze. While each have their own advantages and disadvantages, matching your fixtures to a room’s lighting, budget, and theme will ensure that your bathroom will reflect your taste level and personality.

GOLD

Gold-colored fixtures, particularly polished and satin brass, have seen a rise in popularity over the past several years and help give a bathroom a romantic, vintage look. Brass fixtures are generally more expensive than other finishes, and matching gold-colored fixtures to other metals can be more challenging than with silver or bronze-colored finishes. On the other hand, brass is easy to find, easy to clean, and extremely durable—brass fixtures catch the eye and can act as the “wow factor” in your bathroom—classy and bold, without being overly showy. Brass and other gold-colored finishes look best in bathrooms that use lots of porcelain, white marble, and warm lighting.

Photo credit: Homedit

Photo credit: Homedit

SILVER

Timeless, clean looking, and available in a variety of finishes—silver fixtures polish up nicely and look great under a variety of lighting conditions. Silver-colored finishes such as polished or brushed nickel, chrome, and stainless steel offer the most variety of these medal-themed metals and go well with basically any style bathroom whether it be contemporary, modern, traditional, or eclectic. Silver-colored finishes tend to go very well together, and a mixture of matte and glossy finishes (chrome faucets with brushed nickel lighting fixtures, for example) allows you to highlight certain elements of a room while blending others. While generally the most affordable of the three metal finishes, glossy finishes like chrome can be susceptible to water spots and fingerprints and have to be cleaned often—something to keep in mind before purchasing.

Photo Credit: Amba

Photo Credit: Amba

BRONZE

Rustic, classic, and elegant, bronze-colored fixtures have always been loved for their bold, warm look. At home in a traditional, Tuscan, or Mediterranean setting, finishes like copper and brushed or oil-rubbed bronze are great at adding an old-world feel to any bathroom. Best matched with more intricate lighting that features scrollwork, French, or classic styling, bronze fixtures are durable, easily matched with existing pieces, and will naturally color with age, developing a rich, unmistakable patina. Some bronze finishes, like copper, require a bit more maintenance than others but have natural antimicrobial properties (most germs eventually die after contact with copper surfaces) and will actually “heal” scratches over time—after a short period, blemishes on copper blend and disappear as the fixture’s patina darkens.

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Remember to take some time to consider factors like lighting, style, and the practical use the room will see—if you have kids in the house, finishes like chrome may smudge too easily; if you are on a budget, stainless steel is a great option; if you’re going for a bright, eye-catching look, consider polished brass or another gold-colored fixture, but for a more relaxed, rustic approach look to bronze. No matter which color fixtures you choose, knowing about the pros and cons of each can help you make a smart, informed decision that will leave your new bathroom looking medal-worthy.

Smart Furnishing Tips for Small Spaces

Getting the most use out of your small living space can be a daunting task. Smart styling requires finding versatile pieces and using them cleverly. Below are a few furnishing tips that will take your space from cramped to comfortable!

Tip 1: Buy transformational pieces. Maximizing your furniture’s functionality is key when working with limited space. Purchase pieces that can be used every day and adjusted appropriately for entertaining or events. For example, an adjustable bar table is the perfect size and height for everyday use as a kitchen or dining table. When entertaining, hydraulically lift the table to a perfect standing or barstool height.

300D_chair_Omega_BK_Lifestyle_7X10_COPYRIGHT

Photo credit: Lumisource

Bonus Tip: If you chose to pair your adjustable table with multiple sets of seating, opt for options that easily stow away. The Fuji Stacker series, for instance, is available in multiple heights and stacks for easy and compact storage.

300D_chair_Fuji Super Single_Lifestyle_6.5x10_COPYRIGHT

Photo Credit: Lumisource

Tip 2: Employ double duty furniture. Chances are that a living space with limited room is also short on storage. Purchase pieces of furniture with built-in storage solutions. Try something like this Linx Coffee Table, which houses a lower shelf perfect for storing knick-knacks below a fully functional tabletop.

300D_table_Linx 2

Photo Source: Lumisource

Tip 3: Use mirrors and reflective surfaces. Create an optical illusion of depth by hanging a mirror in a cramped space. Reflective surfaces open up spaces, expanding a sense of size with extended views and light. Try an artful approach, like the Helio Mirror, to eliminate the need for additional artwork.

300D_mirror_Helio_BK_lifestyle_COPYRIGHT

Photo Credit: Lumisource

by Wendy Weinert

How to decorate your Chandelier

When we think about a chandelier, some of us think of an ornate fixture that becomes the focal point of a room all on its own. This may be the case with some chandeliers, but definitely not all. The simplicity behind certain designs allows the consumer to truly customize their piece and make it their own. There are many ways to do so and they can be quite inexpensive. Decorating your chandelier may sound taboo to some, however, if you use the word “decorate” loosely, you won’t go overboard. By no means should whip out the finger paint and go to town on your fixture, unless it is something you acquired very inexpensively and it fits the decor of the room, but merely implying that there are tasteful ways to dress it up. Give this a try and see how it will change your room!

Livex ChandelierChandelier shade

Mini shades can be a great way to accessorize your chandelier. The patterns, textures, colors, etc. are endless and easily available. They are also very inexpensive, and if you’re crafty enough you can make your own.

Crystals allow you to add some “bling” to your chandelier in a tasteful manner. You can simply hang crystal strands from the arms, and body of the fixture to add something special. Crystals come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors and are also reasonably priced. You can also swap out some of the metal parts of the fixture and exchange them for crystal “body” parts. This is a very neat idea because it really can change the entire look and feel of your chandelier.

Photo Credit: Blog - Inmyownstyle

Photo Credit: Blog – Inmyownstyle

Ceiling medallions are probably my favorite way to dress up any chandelier; they take the chandelier to another level. You can get a simple solid medallion or ones with beautiful intricate detailing; it really is all up to you. They are an easy way to pull the room together, without having to do much else to your chandelier. Again, these come in all sizes and choosing the perfect fit depends on variable such as the size of the room along with the size of the fixture.

Ceiling Medallion

Dressing up your chandelier is a gradual process. You don’t have to tear open the box and immediately start thinking about various accessories. Once you get a feel for your design style and have a solid design vision, then these are things you can start thinking about. In the words of Gianni Versace, “Designing came to me. I didn’t have to move.”

By Lindsy Jacob with Livex Lighting on behalf of Bellacor

Lindsy_Livex

About Lindsy Jacob

Lindsy joined the Livex Lighting in January of 2013 as a customer service representative. She quickly climbed the ranks and is now the E-Commerce Manager for Livex Lighting. Her savvy sense of style and attention to detail are a great asset to the company.

Washing your bedding. Why you should be doing it more often

Bellacor #193169

Bellacor #193169

A person wears a shirt once and immediately throws it in the dirty clothes pile after changing into pajamas. That same person sleeps in her/his bed every night, but yet finds it unnecessary to wash the bedding more than once a month. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. Many people go weeks or even months without washing their sheets and blankets. The problem with not washing your bedding, however, is that it is becoming much more dirty than you realize.

Champ-Cay Lifestyle_004-cropped

When you’re sleeping, your body sheds dead skin cells. And do you know what bug likes dead skin cells? Dust mites. These tiny, microscopic bugs feed off dead skin cells, and so the more cells you leave behind, the more dust mites there will be in your bed. Having dust mites in your bed is not only something to shudder at, but they can also cause you to get an allergy. If you wake up one day with red eyes and realize you’ve been sneezing a lot more often than usual, there is a good chance that you have dust mites in your bed.
Dust Mite Life Cycle

Dust Mite Life Cycle

Dust mites aren’t the only reason to be concerned. If you do not wash your bedding often enough, oils, saliva, crumbs and sweat will seep into your sheets and blankets. Eventually, bacteria will form and you may end up with a weakened immune system. Sleep is supposed to be a time of recuperation, but if your sheets are dirty, sleep could actually be the reason why you’re getting sick.

Bedbug Matrress Cover

Bedbug Mattress Cover

So how often should you wash your bedding? Well, definitely not just once or twice a month. Washing your sheets once a week is the best way to keep your bedding as clean as possible, but two weeks is also acceptable. When washing your bedding, be sure to include your sheets, blankets or quilts, pillowcases, and bed covers. If you don’t already have a bed cover, you may want to consider getting one. Since mattresses aren’t exactly easy to wash, you can use a bed cover to protect and keep your mattress clean.

You spend about a third of your day in bed. Don’t you want it to be clean? Get in the practice of washing your sheets weekly or bi-weekly and enjoy cleaner, healthier sleep.

5 Pieces of Furniture Essential to a Functional Kids Room

Photo Credit: Sprout

When my little guy was born, my wife and I spent an entire paycheck or two on a stroller, car seat, crib, and a mountain of diapers. And for a while that was the extent of our baby stuff. Over the next 10 months our mountain of diapers dwindled with amazing rapidity and our little bundle grew into a larger one that walked around picking up everything and putting it in his mouth. At the same time the amount of clothes, toys, and other assorted baby gadgetry had accumulated to such a degree that it was encroaching on the rest of the house.

It was time to give our little man his own space!

We pulled all of the junk out of our extra room and started transforming it into a baby haven. This required a great deal more effort and time than I had previously thought but, luckily for my bank account, it required a lot less cash. We slowly started piecing things together from thrift stores and generous family members with older kids.

Finally, today I can say that it’s all complete. The last piece of furniture is in place and the lingering pain from strained back muscles is fading. And so, I present to you, the 5 pieces of furniture essential to a functional kids room.

1. Some Sort of Sleeping Apparatus

You can’t really call it a kids room if there isn’t somewhere for them to sleep.  It doesn’t have to be shaped like a race car or the Millennium Falcon. It just has to be comfy enough to cradle a little body for the night and sturdy enough that it won’t break when that little body is bouncing around on it like a pinball.

Our crib came from my wife’s aunt. Her kids had outgrown it and, although the mattress cover was pretty thrashed, the rest of it was in pretty good condition.

2. A Place for Clothes

If you don’t have kids then you have no idea how quickly they amass large quantities of clothing. I swear every time Grandma comes over she’s got a cute new outfit. As a parent it’s great because you don’t have to buy them stuff, but even though baby clothes are tiny they still have to go somewhere.

A baby dresser is a must have. Drawers that keep clothes nicely folded and can separate the onesies from the footie pajamas will make changing times much easier. Again I think ours came from another relative. It has weird bear stickers all over it but it was free.

Photo Credit: Rob's home

Photo Credit: Rob’s home

3. A Place for Stuff

This is for all the things that kids need but that you don’t necessarily want them to have easy access to. Books, crayons, and boxes of wipes, are all crucial kid items but only if they remain well out of reach to curious toddlers.

One of the dressers we procured from someone has a set of shelves attached to it. It is a great place to keep things away from our little boy. It’s also bright pink with glittery nobs on the drawers but again the price was right.

4. Creative Platform

When your kids are really little they don’t require much to keep them occupied. A squishy ball or a cardboard box can amuse them for hours. But as they get older they learn about crayons and how they can make magic with paper. You will try your hardest to keep them from learning about crayons and walls but you will inevitably fail.

Once our son starting showing interest in drawing I knew we needed to get him a better environment. The kitchen table was way too high and he is a perpetual wiggler so it was unrealistic for us to lift him up and down from a booster seat a hundred times. Luckily, working for a kid’s furniture company gave me access to some really cool stuff and I’d been eyeing the table and chair set for a while. Now my little boy can grab a coloring book, plop down, and color outside the lines to his heart’s content.

5. A Black Hole

This is where all the things that don’t go in any other piece of furniture belong. Most people call it a toy box. It is where every little plastic doo-dad and wooden thing-a-ma-jig end up, woefully separated from whatever set of toys they belong to by great distances of space and time. It’s also the first thing that your kid likes to overturn once he wakes up in the morning.

Every kid’s room needs one of these for one simple reason. It makes cleaning up so much easier. Just grab everything on the floor and throw it in. In 2 minutes you’ve cleared the floor and you won’t have to worry about stepping on noisy or painfully sharp (I’m looking at you LEGO) objects when you go in to check on your child in the middle of the night. Our toy box is just a canvas bin. I have no idea where it came from but it’s wonderful.

There you have it, 5 essential pieces of furniture for a functional kid’s room. I’ve learned that children can make your life wonderfully crazy. But getting them into a room that meets all of your needs and theirs can make it more of the former and less of the latter.

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Draperies: good for entertaining and everyday living

The scenario: You’re hosting an event in a few weeks. The goal is to revamp your home to look party-ready. But, no matter how many times you rearrange your furniture, your main rooms, such as the dining room and the living room just looks a little blah.

When you’re hosting a party or entertaining friends, it’s normal to want to freshen the look of your home. And the good news is you can! Or, at least, you can a little. While you might not be able to completely make over your room, you can at least add some visual excitement by replacing your old window shades or curtains with a stunning new drapery.

Faux Silk Taffeta Stripe Single Panel Curtain in Charcoal Grey and White, 50 X 96

Faux Silk Taffeta Stripe Single Panel Curtain in Charcoal Grey and White, 50 X 96

Draperies are a great way to add a little pizazz in a room when you’re in a time crunch. Plus, they have some pretty amazing qualities that will benefit you all year long – whether you are entertaining friends or not. Here are just four advantages of hanging draperies in your home. Draperies:

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Control light – With draperies, you can either let sunlight into your home or completely shut it out. So if you’re trying to watch a movie during the middle of the day, a thick drapery, such as a velvet or those with a blackout liner would do the trick. When you want a well-lit room, all you have to do is pull the curtains back and enjoy the natural light.

TheatreCurtain

Ellery Homestyles Absolute Zero Curtains Black 50-Inch x 84-Inch Velvet Blackout Home Theater Curtain Panel

Block out sound – Many draperies are tightly woven fabrics  or those drapes that are insulted, are better at absorbing and blocking out sound. When you have company over or are trying to relax after a hard day’s work, you’ll definitely appreciate having a drapery to help block out annoying sounds like traffic. In fact, sometimes just adding some blackout to your existing curtain is all you need to take your home to the next level of energy and sound conservation.

Blackout curtain

Ellery Homestyles Eclipse Thermaliner White 80-Inch Long Blackout Window Curtain Pair

Reduce energy – Heavy silks, wools, velvets or other fabrics can prevent heat or cold from transferring into your home. This means you won’t have to pay as much for the electric bill each year. Think of them as an energy assistant to your homes insulate properties – they will help maintain the right temperature in your home using less energy.

Center Point Energy gives some overall guidelines on windows:

  • On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let in the sun’s warmth. During the summer, draw drapes and blinds to prevent solar heat gain.
  • Close draperies and blinds at night to insulate against cold air outside.
Photo Credit: Center Point Energy

Photo Credit: Center Point Energy

Add visual appeal – Of course, let’s not forget how stylish draperies are! Find a drapery in a bold color to add drama to your living room. If you want to create a more elegant interior design, a rich, velvet drapery is the way to go. There are plenty of prints that will add a very personal touch that will be just you. Or even consider having a couple of layers to add more depth and style to your home.

Wow your party guests with a gorgeous drapery hung up in your home and you can then enjoy the additional benefits every day of the year.

By Wendy Weinert

Activities to Make Your Dinner Party a Blast

Have you struggled to host dinner parties in the past? If you’re tired of throwing parties that don’t quite live up to your expectations, simply reconsider your party strategy. A dinner party often requires three things in order to be successful: delicious food and drinks; great atmosphere; and last, but certainly not least, entertaining activities!

You might not have considered party activities in the past, but without them, your event might end up being a dud. So don’t let all the work you put into the menu and décor go to waste. At your next dinner party, try incorporating these three activities and make your dinner party a smashing success!

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Play games
Playing games is one of the easiest ways to loosen your guests up and liven up the mood. It’s also an activity that can be done before, during or after the meal depending on the game. Be sure to consider your guests beforehand to decide which games would be most appropriate. If many of your guests are meeting for the first time, play an icebreaker game so everyone can get to know each other. If you have a more outgoing group, play a fun game of charades in the living room!

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Set up a “photo booth” area
Taking pictures is not only a great way to capture a fun evening, but it can also be a fun activity! All you need for your home photo booth is a digital camera, a tripod and a backdrop. If you have a large piece of artwork hung up you can simply use that as the background. Otherwise, any type of printed fabric such as a blanket could also be used. Set some goofy props nearby such as wigs or large glasses and your friends will have a blast taking silly pictures all night.

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End the night with dancing
After everyone’s done eating your incredible food, keep them from feeling sleepy by having a dance party. Simply clear out your coffee table and rugs, turn on an upbeat playlist and show off your sweet moves!

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Hosting a dinner party is more than providing a delicious meal. Be sure to also include some fun activities and keep your guests entertained throughout the evening!

Using Leather in Your Home

 

Homehills wingback black bonded leather king bed

Back in the day – way before you and I were born – leather was mostly used to cover books, not to decorate one’s home. As you know, however, the use of leather has come a long way. Not only do homeowners incorporate leather into their interior design, but now there are a variety of styles and colors of leather to choose from!

If you love the look and feel of leather, add some of this gorgeous material into your own home with these ideas:

Upholstery

Leather seating has become a common design choice for many homeowners … and it is not hard to see why! The leather material wears well, which means you can keep your favorite sofa around for years. Leave the sofa bare for a sleek, modern look. Or, add some style with a couple of fun accent pillows and a comfy throw blanket.

paint butler loft lizard embossed leather console table

Tabletop

Although leather is most commonly used to make couches and chairs, there are other unique uses for the material as well. For example, leather can be used to cover a tabletop like your coffee table or maybe an end table. If you choose to go this route, be sure to always use coasters and dust the tabletop weekly to keep the leather in great condition.

Sarreid woven learther magazine basket =

Woven items

Almost any piece of furniture could feature a woven leather design. This pattern is great for adding more visual interest and will help make an attractive piece of furniture even more appealing. You can find a woven leather pattern on the back of a dining room chair. There are even woven baskets made out of leather that resemble the look of wicker, without the uncomfortable and rough feeling.

Uttermost Leonzio Round mirror

Framed clocks or mirrors

Most of the clocks or mirrors you see today are framed using wooden, metal or plastic materials. They don’t have to be though! Leather can also be used to frame different décor items. The leather material will help these smaller items stand out in a room full of décor and furnishings.

How will you decorate with leather in your home? Browse through our many leather goods to get inspired!

 

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