Friday, February 22, 2013

Finding decor inspiration for your home online

Dining room tableThe internet is probably one of the most invaluable tools out there for finding unique items for our homes. For those that can not afford an interior designer or decorator, the internet is the net best thing. To begin your hunt it is important that you try and at least loosely define your design style and taste. A fun way to do this is to make a scrapbook or photo album and collect pictures and articles on interior design and decor that speak to you visually and even emotionally.

Start off by defining what your ideas of a dream home entail. Then go through articles, magazines, and start collecting an imaginary profile of your dream home. Collect snippets of colors, fabrics, photo graphs, and soon you'll have your own vision. Many now are utilizing the Pinterest website for this and its a wonderful way to find your design style, unique to you. 

Once you begin to see your own tastes, and recurring themes in style, colors, textures emerging you can then start your hunt for items that can replicate what you have found. There are no shortage of sites out there and if you have the finances you can make any dream come true. However, true style and inspiration should not be about copying something in a photograph or spending a lot of money. Instead let the process be about taking great ideas, finds and making them something special and unique for your home. Mixing items you buy online and in stores with personal items you salvage along the way will give you a lot of wiggle room to express yourself in your home. It also makes good financial sense to revive, restore, re purpose and re use what you can.

There are several sites online you can go to and find unique and creative decorations, but more importantly they will give you ideas. See something you love but it costs a fortune? Chances are you can replicate it. One King's Lane, Country Door, Pier 1 Imports are all great sources of inspiration. Many of the items you see in these stores can be easily copied.
See an example of something you can replicate:
You can take an old coffee table, paint it white, distress it with sand paper and add a small old garden gate on to the top.
Garden Gate Coffee Table 
The idea is to use your creativity and never stop looking for those "finds" along the way. Great design doesn't take place in a furniture store, or Walmart, it takes place in your imagination. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mobile home upgrading: What you can do to bring yours up to date

updated mobile home kitchen
mobile home kitchen (Photo credit: mastercabinetmaker)

Your mobile home, is your home. There is no reason to treat it any differently than you would any other stick built home. Like every home in existence it needs updating. While it may not be in your budget to do all of the suggestions above, this article is just to give you a few options you may want to try. Every home needs a little updating, usually every ten years. Mobile homes come pre-designed for the era/decade they are built in. If you are tired of being stuck to that color scheme and design, it is good to know you can do something to give your home a new look and feel.
  1. Paint the walls. Yes, you can paint the wall paper. Today's interior paints come with built in primer and you can paint easily over the wallpaper inside most mobile homes quite easily. Paint is one way to update your mobile home and removed the dated colors associated with your home and the decade it was manufactured
  2. Replace plumbing fixtures. Many fixtures in manufactured mobile homes are also date specific. Brass is in many homes built in the 80's and 90's. Switching out these for current finishes like brushed nickel etc. is a way to get your home into the modern era.
  3. Replacing the carpeting and flooring. There are many advantages to changing out the flooring in manufactured mobile homes. Many homes built during the 70's through the 90's are style and color specific to that era. In many cases they don't fit well into the neutral furniture and d├ęcor currently used today. You may have to check around to get the best deal for installing carpeting in larger homes because many rooms are not built in traditional measurements that carpeting comes in. This means you may have to have it professionally installed however this is a good investment if the home is your permanent home or a home you are currently trying to sell in a market competing with houses.
  4. Painting the wood trim. Now you may see many shudder at that idea of painting wood but unless the wood trim is expensive wood, there's no reason you can't paint the wood molding in your home. Whether it's paneling from the 70's and 80's or even the molding from the 90's, chances are the manufacturer did not put in Mahogany or real Walnut. With that in mind, if you like white trim and you plan on painting the walls, why not paint the trim too? It will update your home instantly and brighten up the room.
  5. Refinish or replace your counter tops. There are products on the market for laminate counter tops that will allow you to paint over them and completely change the appearance. There are many options depending on your budget but you are not stuck with your counter tops in your older mobile home and if you are planning on selling, it may be worth it to try. The least expensive would be to use a laminate counter top kit. See *link below for more information on that.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Country Design, its coming back into the spotlight

Chrysanthemums (Photo credit: Dawn Gagnon)

For some this look never went anywhere, for others there may be a long collective sigh of "oh no" but for others, who actually check out the way the "country look" aesthetic has evolved, they'll be pleasantly surprised. There are different faces to the look of country, and finding one that fits into your lifestyle is key in getting you in the right direction. We're going to look at why there are trends, and what's new in the "country" design themed world.

Why are there trends?

More than anything, trends tend to reflect societies current economic and social frame of mind. When society goes through difficult times, their needs change to fit their mental state of being, and their financial state of being. Another factor that dictates trends are of course the demographics of a certain area. The media tends to pay a lot of attention the the demographics of main stream America but they tend to do a shallow job when it comes to practicality. How many home design and decorating shows have you seen that you thought they could have spent a lot less money? Young American homeowners tend to migrate towards contemporary and modern design, and if they're often marketed to. Today though we're faced with a slightly different situation, a sluggish housing market, and a sluggish economy..what happens in these times is people make do, and that is what the country lifestyle and design aesthetic is all about.

What's new in country design?

Well for one thing, there's a lot more ways for those who don't have an understanding or a background to go by to get the look. There are a lot of companies out there that have beautiful furnishings and decorative items that have that weathered, soft, simple creature comfort appeal. Try visiting sites like One Kings Lane and Country Door can give you lots of inspiration and head you in the right direction. Depending on whether you like rustic country, french country or shabby chic styles is up to you. Start off simple by understanding and researching the various styles mentioned here. Once you do this, then the idea is to start small and gradually move into the direction you want to end up using many photos as your inspiration. Paint color, and the right furnishings will make the biggest impression. All else can be acquired through time. Remember regardless of what trend is currently out there, timeless beauty never goes out of style and comfort has to be a priority.

Why would anyone want to decorate their home this way?

It doesn't matter how lovely a room looks if you can't spend time enjoying it comfortably you've wasted time and money. The real skill comes into play when you use what you have, and that may be about finding new ways to use old things, it may be about recycling and re-purposing as well. With the economy struggling, and more people skipping on their vacations away from home, it is important to make the home the comfortable, nurturing space it is supposed to be. Country today is about merging comfort with simple design that reflects a homeowners needs. Most homeowners need that soft place to land at the end of the day, seeing things around them that offer both a useful purpose and a visually lovely reminder of what we truly need in this world.
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