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 Design Tips and Tricks to Create an Enterntaining-Ready Home

Creating a guest-friendly home doesn’t need to be a reoccurring mad dash every time you host an event. Cut out the drama and avoid the last minute rush by designing a permanently inviting and well-designed space. With these five easy tips and tricks you’ll be prepared for party-goers year round!

Tip: The easiest and most effective way to keep a home party-ready is by creating an open floor plan. Space your furniture smartly and eliminate unnecessary or bulky items that take up too much space. Designing a home with ample room allows for your guests to move around with comfort and ease.

Trick: Use slender and streamlined barstools at a counter instead of a dining set to optimize your kitchen’s usable space. Slim pieces like these Venti Acrylic Bar Stools achieve a stylish appeal, but don’t monopolize the room.

Realty Restoration, LLC

Realty Restoration, LLC

Tip: Keep your space clean and clutter-free. Mixing too many patterns, colors or sizes can make a home seem untidy and uninviting. Stow away books, magazines, remote controls or any other eyesores out of plain sight.

Trick: Furniture with built in storage makes this tip easy to achieve. This Zenn Tray Table, for instance, provides a modern and clean look but still houses a sunken table-top perfect to keep unsightly items in reach but out of sight.

Zenn End Table
Tip: Unify your space with a theme. A similar color palette, pattern or inspiration will keep your home looking clean and organized. When it becomes time to entertain, any other elements or decorations you add to the space will pop against your well-coordinated background!

Trick: Utilizing color as a theme is quick and simple. These white Cascade Bar Stools, for example, tie in the white kitchen appliances and woodwork, creating a unified space.

LumiSource Cascade Bar Stools

Tip: Provide a clear focal point. Anchoring your space with a statement piece will avoid competition between multiple pieces for your guests’ attention. Decorating around the feature will give it a place of honor and create a fun point of discussion for guests.

Trick: Try using something that also promotes socialization, like these Viva Bar Stools. It’s a beautiful attention-grabbing piece that will encourage your guests to gather around for wonderful conversation and a fun time.

justBASEMENTS

justBASEMENTS

Tip: Make the space your own. Creating a home that reflects you will add visual interest and make guests feel more at ease. Add personality to a room with fun pops of color, interesting art or unique elements.

Trick: Fun pieces can still be stylish and coordinate with your furnishings. These red Ale Bar Stools are the perfect example of something artful but still functional. The bright color and interesting shape adds an element of interest and personal flare.

Patrick Brickman, Charleston Home + Design Magazine

Patrick Brickman, Charleston Home + Design Magazine

 

By Wendy Weinert

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.

bronzebathroom

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:

curtaindrapery-lg

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