Sunday, November 28, 2010

Inexpensive holiday decor ideas

A christmas tree.Image via Wikipedia
The holidays are here and it is time to deck the halls in your home. Decorations can be costly, but with the right amount of imagination, and a little creativity you do not have to spend a fortune on decorations for the holidays. Here are wonderful easy tips that will help your home look beautiful without breaking the bank.

1. Recycle old light bulbs- Old light bulbs need not be thrown away. There are a number of ways to use them in decor for the holidays. Try spray painting them and gluing a little ribbon on them to hang on the Christmas tree. Adding touches like glitter, adding smiley faces etc can really make them unique conversation pieces for the holidays.
2. Bring the outdoors in- Pine cones, boughs of Eucalyptus, nuts and seed pods make great all natural decor for mantles in the home. Add decorative holiday ribbon around baskets that are laden with pine cones,seed pods and nuts with a few ornaments from the tree and you have a cut little display for the hearth.
3. Candy decor- Hard holiday candy is a tasty treat but also an inexpensive way to decorate. Put ornament hooks on the wrappers and hang from the tree. Use a low temp hot glue gun and get red and green hard candy and decorate plain Candles. Make a wreath using Styrofoam rings wrapped in branches and hot glue candy canes, and hard candy like peppermints to it. Look in dollar stores for inexpensive bagged hard candy. You can usually find big bags for a few dollars and they can be used in so many ways.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don't mix those finishes..

FamilyImage via Wikipedia
I saw this again, a well known designer, praising a family on "More Bang for Your Buck" for not being "afraid of mixing their finishes".  I cringe every time I hear a professional tell do-it-yourselfers this because it is really poor advice. Designers on television are well known for their huge errors in design, lets not forget Genevieve Gorder's Moss covered wall back in the day on Trading Spaces, for example. I'm not saying that most of the time they don't do a wonderful job, because they do. However, in the real world, mixing finishes is not, repeat not a good idea. Why? First and foremost when you take on your own project mixing finishes looks unprofessional. Unpolished, and in essence, like you may have run out of money. This isn't a bold statement, and trust me when I say this, it won't be perceived as such either. I would be willing to bet, the homeowners that did have mismatched finishes, did it quite by accident or perhaps as an oversight. I am almost certain it wasn't deliberate.
Even if you have no intention in this world of selling your home, you must always think resale value. Life has a way of throwing us all curve balls and you never know when you may be in a situation where you may need to tap into equity or have to have your home appraised or sold for an emergency.  Please make sure to match your finishes, Oil Rubbed Bronze should only pair with Oil Rubbed Bronze. To truly have seamless beauty, don't take risks that could backfire. Keep it simply stunning..KISS.
Just thought you'd wanna know..

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to Keep Your Living Room Neat When You Are in a Hurry

Staged-livingRoom2Image by dawnella66 via Flickr
Do you lead a pressured life? Perhaps you are a working mom who has to leave the house
two minutes after the kids in the morning and only gets home again in the evening. Or
you are a doctor working long shifts at unusual hours. Or you may be a home worker, and
even though you are physically in the house you are so busy with your work that you
don’t get a chance to do any of the standard household tasks that need to be taken care of.
The uniting factor between all of the individuals mentioned above is that they probably
do not get too much time to do the housework. One option is, of course, to hire household
help. But anyone who has children will tell you that the nice, tidy living room that is left
does not stay that way for very long. Unless you hire a live-in slave, you will therefore
have to at least fill in the gaps between your cleaner’s visits.
So how do you keep your living room looking neat when you have so little time
available? Here are some useful tips to help you:
- Tidy up as you go. For example, if your child has been playing a game in the
living room you must make sure that every single piece is picked up as soon as
they have finished. And depending on the age of the child, he or she should be the
one to pick it up and put it away. Don’t leave it till later, or the mess will only get
- Every single thing needs a home. Therefore, there should be a rack for magazines,
a shelf for books, a drawer for papers, and a bin for garbage …
- Similarly, educate your Significant Other to hang coats or jackets on pegs or
hangers, rather than on the backs of chairs because this always looks untidy and
also creates the “have you seen my best jacket” scenario that most of us try to
- Create a list of things that you will always make sure are done before you go to
bed at night. For example, this could include making sure that any dirty cups left
lying around are washed and put away, that the table is clear, and that the sofas
are left with nothing on them. These are small tasks, yet they make a huge
difference to how a room looks.
- Write down in your personal calendar one day a week when you do a thorough
clearing up of the living room. Again, if you have been trying to keep basic order
through the rest of the week, this should not take too long or be too difficult.
Here, tasks would include vacuuming the carpet flooring or
washing the laminate flooring, dusting surfaces, clearing out the mess
under the sofas and in the corners, and making sure that the bookcases and
sideboards are orderly and clear. You can also make a bi-weekly list that would
include cleaning the windows, and a monthly list that would include washing the
drapes. Planning is everything, and just as you plan a business meeting, you can
also slot certain household tasks into your personal schedule.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Passion for Pink

Vector version of Image:Color icon pink.pngImage via Wikipedia

Do you have a passion for pink? Culturally, in most countries, pink is clearly a feminine color. However, apart from the gender orientation, if that is the color in which you would like to decorate your bedroom, your daughter’s room, or your baby’s nursery, your choices are far from limited. Pink comes in a variety of shades, from very pale to shocking pink. Pink can be a relaxing, soothing color, or it can be loud and vibrant. You can decorate the room in the shade that appeals the most to you, depending on the effect that you would like to achieve.

Let’s imagine that you would like to decorate your little baby princess’s bedroom in pink. In this case, you would probably choose a lighter, more subtle shade, as you want your little baby to be in a soothing environment. You would paint the walls of the room in a very pale shade so that the room is light and airy. The actual furniture, such as the crib, changing table, and cupboards, could be a mild rosy hue, or even a more neutral color that would blend in with the rest of the décor. On the floor, you could either place pale pink area rugs, once again going with the idea of repose and relaxation, or you could choose a more pronounced shade. The reason for this would be to stimulate your baby’s interest with bright, jolly colors. Similarly, you could put up mobiles of a stronger pink to attract your little princess’s attention as she lies in her crib, but her actual bedding would be rose colored or oyster pink, as these are more restful shades.

If, on the other hand, you are a teenage girl who wants to sleep in a pink bedroom, you would probably go for brighter colors. Many teenagers actually like walls that stand out in bolder colors to emphasize their mood. In this case, shocking pink is probably the color, and the contrast here would be reversed. The area rug on the wood flooring would be a light pink for contrast, with rose-colored bedding and curtains, as this is a shade that lies somewhere in between. Alternatively, other colors that are similar, such as purple or mauve, may also be included within the range as these also add to the contrasting look.

However, pink does not need to be limited only to girls’ bedrooms. In its subtler shades, it can be added to rooms that are in other colors in order to either provide a contrast or add to the theme. For example, if you are looking for a peach bathroom, again because this is a relaxing color or because it is reminiscent of seashells and a maritime theme, you may want an oyster pink rug to merge with the peach-colored walls and flooring. In this case, the actual fittings in the bathroom may be beige, magnolia, or peach, and the pink area rug simply adds to the look rather than taking it over.

Having a passion for pink does not have to limit your creativity. In fact, it can enhance it and add an extra dimension to the décor that you want.

Defining spaces in open floor plans

Villa Savoye, Poissy. By Le Corbusier. Septemb...Image by adaptorplug via Flickr

It is a real challenge to divide up and define specific spaces in an open concept design. If done poorly the end result will look congested and cluttered and disconcerting to the eye. There are ways that we can define individual spaces in an open concept and have it merge seamlessly.

1. Furniture placement- 
We can always form a border between two rooms using the furniture in the room. Sofas, love seats and freestanding units are a great way to divide a space. If you appreciate the flow of the open space, use the smallest size piece of furniture to do this. Make sure sofas and love seats have a finished back, and can be freestanding. Some inexpensive pieces do not have a finished back. This simply means that the furniture has a pale piece of canvas type fabric backing and not the matching upholstery seen  on the front.

2. Coordinating colors
 If you have an open concept in your home but wish to define one area from another you can use a lighter paint or darker paint color in the same color family to give the other room its own personality while still making it merge with the other areas. Take a sample of your existing color to your home center or paint store and ask them to either darken it or lighten it.

3. Create a movable barrier- 
You can create individual spaces using a variety of movable barriers. Some ideas are to section off one area from another using large fabric panels on tracts, building a divider using bi-fold doors, and creating your own fabric screen that requires using 2"X 2 " wood, piano hinges and the fabric of your choice.

4. Use of columns, half walls and large objects- 
Many homes in new construction are using columns now to add architectural detailing and definition to spaces in an open room. You can build your own as well. Many home centers have columns, 8 foot posts, etc that you can easily paint and install between two spaces to create definition. Half walls can easily be built with 2 by 4 lumber, sheet rock, paint and molding. Large objects like vases, book cases and stands in darker colors usually cause the eye to stop and make the distinction between two spaces.
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