‘decorating’ Category

Five Ways To Enhance Your Hallway

Your hallway may seem like a purely functional area, a place that serves as an intermediary between the house entrance and other rooms. You might view the hallway as dull and consign it to a fate of being a part of your home that you can’t – or don’t want to – improve. But hallways do matter and an attractive one really adds to the impact when you or your visitors enter your house.

Creating Illusions

Your hallway may feel small and restrictive and while you’ll probably not be able to alter the area’s dimensions, you can use mirrors to enhance its perceived size. A mirror near to a natural light source such as a window not only adds to the effect the light has on the hallway, creating brightness where the room was dim before, but also increases the space people perceive when they enter the hall, especially if the mirror is positioned horizontally.

Adding Focus

If you want to make your hallway more interesting, you’ll need something for the eyes to be drawn to, just as slate house signs can draw the gaze outside. A drab hallway devoid of content is not very inspiring, so instead create a mural, feature wall or other decoration that can be used as a focal point for attention and a way to display your household’s creative output. This kind of area could feature art drawn by your children, for example, or perhaps simply a few framed paintings or family photos. You could also else have some colourful boxes for added storage.

And when it comes to storage, the typical hallway presents a number of options – you simply need to know where to start. Underneath your stairs can offer you room for a vacuum cleaner or perhaps a box full of shoes, light bulbs and other miscellaneous items that don’t have a home elsewhere. Alternatively, you might transform the below-stairs area into a storage scheme with a small bookcase, for example. A coat stand or umbrella well is another item that goes well in a hallway, since it can stand on its own and doesn’t get in the way too much.

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Aesthetics

Aesthetics are as important to a better hallway as practicality. For instance, suitable lighting can make a world of difference. Install a skylight for a brighter hall, or choose to have layers of light to once again give the illusion that your hallway has more space than it really has. However, you will need to avoid pendant lights. These have the exact opposite effect and can really produce a cramped impression within your hallway, especially if you have a lower-than-average ceiling.

Also on the subject of aesthetics, consider the colours you use in your hallway. You will have to think about the surrounding rooms before you start making radical changes to the hallway, since consistency with adjacent rooms will look best. If you do have the option of redecorating and changing the predominant colours in your hallway, consider neutral whites to keep the area light or a yellow scheme for added warmth.

Zoe is an ardent blogger and copywriter from the UK. She is currently writing for House Name Plate, and loves to share her knowledge on home improvement through content on the internet. Tweet your thoughts on this article to @granite_trans or @bloggingstyle.

Bringing the Outdoors Into Your Home

Hiking isn’t just for the outdoors anymore.

The outdoors has been influential in interior design for years. From log cabins to Southwestern flare, all types of natural influences have made their way into our homes. But now more than ever, less “themed” inspiration is taking center stage.

Soil, trees, wood, stone…all of these come to mind when thinking of the outdoors. These elements are perfect additions to any space, allowing a room to look organic, rustic, and welcoming. However, we’re not talking gaudy outdoor à la dark woods, flannel, and deer heads. It’s easy to add outdoor influences in a modern and sophisticated way. Here are three ways to subtly bring the great outdoors into your home.

Organic Flooring

modern outdoor influence - flooring

Flooring is a great way to bring the outdoors into your home. By choosing untraditional flooring like beech you can completely transform a room to look light, airy, and clean.

Natural Vaulted Ceilings

outdoor inspired ceiling

If you have the opportunity to remodel your ceiling, consider adding an architectural statement with beams in raw wood. It can add some rustic flare while simultaneously giving off a streamlined aesthetic.

Stone Accent Wall

modern flooring inspiration for outdoors

Accent walls can bring a room to life and add to dimension. Rather than painting it a different color, why not play with texture and use natural stone? It can look both modern and welcoming when done using a stone with minimal lines and a subtle texture. Or add a bit more texture to give off the impression of a fireplace minus the functionality and upkeep.

modern outdoor interior design on walls

Adria Saracino is a freelancer, blogger, and home décor enthusiast. She writes for 5.11 Tactical, which sells everything from flashlights to its signature 5.11 Tactical polarized sunglasses.

Photo Credits: modern room, interior new loft, ethnic furniture, living room, modern interior room with nice furniture inside, modern room

5 Home Improvements to Sell Your House Quickly

When you are selling your house, keep one thing in mind: Potential home buyers do not use a lot of imagination when house shopping. That is to say, if a potential buyer walks into a house that has dirty and stained carpet, they can be easily turned off and disinterested instead of realizing that changing carpet isn’t that expensive.
There are five features that can make or break a closing. If you are putting your house on the market, look at the following features in your home from the potential buyer’s point of view. If you think it looks old or unattractive, so will they and may very well dismiss an otherwise wonderful home.
1. Kitchen Cabinets & Counters
It used to be that the living room was the favorite room of the house. Nowadays, the kitchen is where the family gathers most frequently and spends the most time. The size of the kitchen doesn’t matter as much as the overall appearance. The cabinets are the first to be noticed. If they are old and outdated, it could be an instant “no, thank you,” from a buyer. An outdated counter is less noticeable but just be sure the cabinets match the counter in color. An updated kitchen is extremely important these days. If you put money into only one room in your house, let it be the kitchen.
2. Lawn
It is not necessary to completely overhaul your lawn for a new buyer. You don’t know what their plans may be. However, it is terribly important to tidy up the lawn as much as possible. If a potential buyers uses any imagination at all when looking at houses, it will be in the lawn and garden. This is an easy and enjoyable area to personalize. Just remember, if a front or back lawn is overgrown and full of dead bushes and weeds, a buyer will be instantly turned off. Simply remove all dead bushes and mow the grass. If necessary, pull up all the dead grass and leave the new buyer with a blank canvas, so to speak. It is better for a buyer to see a clean field of dirt instead of a yard deeply in need of cleaning.
3. Light Fixtures
In the same way that kitchen cabinets can instantly date a house, the light fixtures have the same influence. If the light fixtures in your home are basic and lack any definite style, you can possibly get away with neglecting this feature. However, if you have the extra time and several hundred dollars to invest, switching out old fixtures for sleek new fixtures will charm any buyer. It is not just the look of the fixture that is either attractive or unattractive. The amount of light and the color of light that the fixture gives the room has a sub conscience effect on how a person feels about the room.
4. Flooring
Treat your flooring as you would if you were staying in the house. If your carpet is dirty but fairly new, shampoo it and keep it vacuumed for viewings. If the carpet is in such bad condition that shampooing does not help its appearance, it must be replaced. The last thing a new home owner wants to do is shampoo carpet or lay down new flooring. Also, tile and wood floors always increase the value of a house and tend to be desired by most people.
5. Paint
There is no need to paint the walls a different color. Simply touch up the walls in the color they currently are painted in. That is, unless every room in your house is painted black or some other unusual and unpleasant color. In that case, wash over it all with a primer at least. In the case that the walls are a usual tone, just touch up the baseboards, doorframes, etc. The only reason a home seller should touch up their paint is to give each room a look of freshness and cleanliness so touch up wherever is necessary. Paint is the quickest and cheapest way to breathe new life into a room. Similar to light fixtures, freshly painted walls have a positive sub conscience effect on potential home buyers.
This real estate resource provided by <a href=”http://www.buildingsguide.com”>BuildingsGuide.com</a>, a leading online resource for steel buildings and homes, metal building kits, and pricing tools for the DIY home enthusiast.

curb appeal

When you are selling your house, keep one thing in mind: Potential home buyers do not use a lot of imagination when house shopping. That is to say, if a potential buyer walks into a house that has dirty and stained carpet, they can be easily turned off and disinterested instead of realizing that changing carpet isn’t that expensive.

There are five features that can make or break a closing. If you are putting your house on the market, look at the following features in your home from the potential buyer’s point of view. If you think it looks old or unattractive, so will they and may very well dismiss an otherwise wonderful home.

1. Kitchen Cabinets & Counters

It used to be that the living room was the favorite room of the house. Nowadays, the kitchen is where the family gathers most frequently and spends the most time. The size of the kitchen doesn’t matter as much as the overall appearance. The cabinets are the first to be noticed. If they are old and outdated, it could be an instant “no, thank you,” from a buyer. An outdated counter is less noticeable but just be sure the cabinets match the counter in color. An updated kitchen is extremely important these days. If you put money into only one room in your house, let it be the kitchen.

2. Lawn

It is not necessary to completely overhaul your lawn for a new buyer. You don’t know what their plans may be. However, it is terribly important to tidy up the lawn as much as possible. If a potential buyers uses any imagination at all when looking at houses, it will be in the lawn and garden. This is an easy and enjoyable area to personalize. Just remember, if a front or back lawn is overgrown and full of dead bushes and weeds, a buyer will be instantly turned off. Simply remove all dead bushes and mow the grass. If necessary, pull up all the dead grass and leave the new buyer with a blank canvas, so to speak. It is better for a buyer to see a clean field of dirt instead of a yard deeply in need of cleaning.

3. Light Fixtures

In the same way that kitchen cabinets can instantly date a house, the light fixtures have the same influence. If the light fixtures in your home are basic and lack any definite style, you can possibly get away with neglecting this feature. However, if you have the extra time and several hundred dollars to invest, switching out old fixtures for sleek new fixtures will charm any buyer. It is not just the look of the fixture that is either attractive or unattractive. The amount of light and the color of light that the fixture gives the room has a sub conscience effect on how a person feels about the room.

4. Flooring

Treat your flooring as you would if you were staying in the house. If your carpet is dirty but fairly new, shampoo it and keep it vacuumed for viewings. If the carpet is in such bad condition that shampooing does not help its appearance, it must be replaced. The last thing a new home owner wants to do is shampoo carpet or lay down new flooring. Also, tile and wood floors always increase the value of a house and tend to be desired by most people.

5. Paint

There is no need to paint the walls a different color. Simply touch up the walls in the color they currently are painted in. That is, unless every room in your house is painted black or some other unusual and unpleasant color. In that case, wash over it all with a primer at least. In the case that the walls are a usual tone, just touch up the baseboards, doorframes, etc. The only reason a home seller should touch up their paint is to give each room a look of freshness and cleanliness so touch up wherever is necessary. Paint is the quickest and cheapest way to breathe new life into a room. Similar to light fixtures, freshly painted walls have a positive sub conscience effect on potential home buyers.

This real estate resource provided by BuildingsGuide.com, a leading online resource for steel buildings and homes, metal building kits, and pricing tools for the DIY home enthusiast.

Modern Blinds

Decorating with contemporary window design can make a huge difference in the overall look of a room. If you don’t think you can afford to completely modernize your house or room right away, starting with the window treatments can be a great first step. Not only does it change the overall energy and look of the room, but it can inspire you to take other small steps towards finalizing your home design plans. Here are some suggestions for contemporary blinds design options that can really update the look of your home.

soft roman shades

Soft Roman Shades

Soft Roman Shades are a great option when it comes to attaining a more contemporary look for your home décor. Usually available in regular or teardrop styles, these shades offer a solid modern look to any room with their minimalist design and simply lined fabrics, which offer a uniform appearance.  You can also increase the modernity of the look by adjusting the texture of the blind.  For example the suede fabric soft roman shade is super sleek and can quickly modernize the feel of any living room or bedroom.

roller shades

Roller Shades

Roller Shades are a unique alternative to more traditional types of blinds and can really spice up a room. Their low profile modern design is also modern in design with durable materials and some great light filtering and darkening options. They come in a variety of fabrics and textures so you can really customize the fabric to the kind of modern style you are looking to achieve. Not only do roller blinds come in a variety of colors & textures, they are also available in different capacities to maximize your control over natural light. Try the solar or industria sheers to get a sleek modern touch.

aluminum mini blinds

Aluminum Mini Blinds

Aluminum blinds not only look great, with a chic and clean modern feel, but they also happen to be very easy to install. These blinds are generally available in a large variety of premium baked-on finishes, for lasting beauty. The mini basics are a smaller slated version that offer contemporary blinds on a budget.

panel track blinds

Panel Track Blinds

For blinds that are modern and loaded with character, try Panel Tracks. Perfect for covering wide windows like sliding glass doors, Panel Track blinds always look great and have some beautiful modern options to choose from. These sliding panels of textured fabrics and multiple design options can modernize any home. Use panel track blinds for patios, sliding glass doors, or any other area you see fit.

By Josie Schneider

More tips on decorating windows

Keeping Your Granite Chic

granite countertop

A lot of designers and home owners alike are apprehensive about using granite in their kitchens and bathrooms because they see it as a massive, permanent design feature, much like a tattoo in their space that they can never remove should they grow tired of the effect. However, this is simply not the case, because if you take the right approach to the granite surfaces in your home, there is no reason why they cannot grow old with you in your home. Here are a few tips on how to keep your granite surfaces looking chic and trendy as time passes.

Altering Your Colour Scheme

Installing granite is commonly thought to give a clean, minimalist feeling to a space, but the truth is that it is an incredibly versatile material.  Selecting a more neutral shade from the granite palette is ideal because you can alter the colour scheme around the stone whenever you want. A pale grey can work well with a darker colour system of blacks, neutrals and creams, or equally well with brighter oranges, or sea greens. The key to adding longevity to your granite areas is to adapt the colours around it so that you can show it off or calm it down.

Redecorating Can Change Everything

As mentioned above, there is an automatic assumption that granite works best in a minimalist setting, but unless you want to redecorate your house every time you change your seasons, you are going to have to come up with a few ways of “dressing” your stone. The minimalist look is simple and clean, but there is no reason why you cannot add tasteful art, or change the whole feel within a space around the art. Nothing is stopping you from creating a neo-classical bathroom with granite surfaces, or going retro with your use of stone. Embrace the versatility of the material and change your decorations, not your finishes.

Maintenance

Another great tip for keeping the granite appealing is to always make sure that it is in the best condition possible. Newer granite surfaces are glass coated, and this requires buffing. In general, you should avoid scratches, use granite-specific cleaner, and make sure that any minor imperfections are dealt with timeously. All of these tips can keep that lustre, shine and strength that make granite such a popular material for homes.

This guest post was written by freelance writer Victoria. She is currently studying the Canadian Law Directory and the Canadian Real Estate Directory.

Trend Stone

Facebook Isn’t the Only Social Media Platform for Businesses

pinterest

There is no denying the impact of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter on the world today. Businesses now put their Facebook pages on commercials, celebrities Tweet their every move, and TV announcers have their Twitter handle displayed with their names. However, the overarching forms of social media aren’t the only successful sites these days.

Understanding that no site can truly compete with giants like Facebook and Twitter, many companies have begun developing niche social networking sites. In 2011 alone, we saw the growing popularity of Quora and Path; however, perhaps one of the best social niche networking sites that gained an impressive following by many individuals, but few businesses, is Pinterest.

Unlike other sites that are focused on sharing pieces of your life with other individuals, Pinterest is more focused on discovery learning through other site users. In essence, it is a way for users to further discover popular topics through pinning pictures to your boards.

There are numerous categories ranging from art to fashion by your favorite designer, and by clicking on one of these categories, you can access dozens of photos and how to tips to a countless number of things. If you find something inspiring, you can then pin it to one of your Boards for later ideas or projects.

For those looking to find new and exciting ideas in which to modernize or update their home, there has never been a better site. Pinterest is full of ideas for those who would like to spruce up their home, from do it yourself projects to those that require the help of a contractor. So whether you are looking to turn your den into a sophisticated library or simply want a new light fixture for your dining room, you will be able to find a plethora of ideas on Pinterest.

Even better, is that you can have it in an easy-to-share format through your pinboards. This way, if you need to show a specific design to others living in your home, painters, or a contractor, it is readily available.

Getting started on Pinterest is easy. First, set up your account. Next, you will be prompted to create your boards, here you have a list of topics that interest you, and all you need to do is title you boards with things that draw your interest. It is best to start small, don’t worry about having 15 to 20 boards, start with two or three and keep adding.

Once you have your boards, download the Pin It button and start saving items in a flash. To get the button, go to the “About” tab and follow the instructions to upload the button.

Pinterest is also good on the go, it now has apps for both iPhone and Android operating systems. This is great for those on the go or for home design professionals that may run into the perfect home and would like to document it for future design ideas. Just snap a few photos, upload them to your Pinterest app and you’re good to go!

This is a highly underrated form of social media. Consumers and businesses alike can benefit from the pictures posted. If a customer runs into a picture of the perfect kitchen combination, they can easily pin the photo and show it to a home designer, benefitting both parties. However, I do warn you, Pinterest can be quite addicting and you may lose a few hours of sleep over searching through all the amazing photos.

Maya Szydlowsky is a community manager for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading dedicated provider of VA home loans as well as news and information on veterans’ benefits.

Small Space Solutions – Easily Make a Room Feel Larger

living room wall muralSmall space? Don’t sweat it! You can easily open up a small space and create the illusion of more room by using any of these clever decorating tricks.

1. Mirror mirror on the wall. If your small room has windows on only one wall, you can double the amount of light and make the room appear larger by hanging a mirror on the opposite wall. Using a large mirror will make it a decorative focal point while maximizing the light and space effects at the same time. If your room lacks a window, you can create a similar effect by placing a lamp in front of a mirror. More tips on how to use mirrors to increase space here.

2. Let there be light. When choosing a paint color, remember that dark colors tend to make spaces appear smaller, while lighter colors create an expansive feeling. If you have your heart set on a dark color, consider going a few shades lighter. Or you can paint one wall in a bold accent color which will make it appear recessed, thus opening up your space.

3. Clear up kitchen counter space. Create a tasteful display of cookbooks, small appliances and dishes above your kitchen cupboards. Hang a line of hooks close to the ceiling or a pot rack to display and organize those space-hogging pots and pans. Keep keys, change, and cellphones in a decorative dish.

4. Don’t over do it. One of the main reasons small spaces feel cramped is too much furniture. Take a look at your furnishings and make sure they are in good proportion to the room size. Switching out a large coffee table for a smaller multipurpose ottoman, for example, is a little change that can make a big impact and free up space.

5. Create a room with a view. Choose a wall mural of a mountainous landscape, a field of flowers, or a skyline of your favorite city. Choose an image that appeals to your color and design aesthetic and use it not only as a stunning focal point, but as an effective way to open up your small space.

6. Raise up your bed. You can free up floor space and add more storage space to a small bedroom all at the same time by using plastic bed risers. Easily conceal your under the bed storage space with a stylish bed skirt or dust ruffle.

7. De-clutter. Nothing makes a room feel more cramped and small than too much clutter. Organize and store your dvds, chargers, remotes, magazines and papers. Remember you can only read or watch one thing at a time. Store away and file the rest. Your small space will feel much more livable with less “stuff” lying around.

Use these handy tips to make a big impact on your small space. Remember, just because a space is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be absolutely magnificent!

Find 1000s of wall murals to help open up your small space at http://www.ArtisticHomeowner.com.

Design Question

Click on Image to Expand

Click on Image to Expand

Q:  What color countertop and kind of design for the backsplash will go with medium beige stain cabinets and cream color porcelain tile floor?

A: You have described a natural palate to work with, so there are a number of options to choose from. If you choose to go with a contemporary look, I would suggest warm tones, such as a deep brown countertop, like our Vetro Moretti with Bronzite glass subway tile backsplash. For a more conservative look I would go for a natural tone countertop, such as Bianco Modena with a full 18” backsplash, adding a 6” strip of our Karma 962 ¾” x1 ½” Staggered Glass. This will create a modern twist on a traditional look.

Ultra Modern Bathrooms

12 most creative bathtubs

Shower and/or bathtub plus a sink and a toilet equal the universal facilities commonly referred to as a bathroom.  How varied can designs really be with these standard functional necessities defining its space?  Depending upon the amount of square footage available there are many interpretations of this familiar space. Let’s take a look at the sleek, angular and uncluttered designs that are starting to grace the most necessary room in the house.

modern bathroom 1

Bathtubs are a thing of beauty and can be displayed (rather than sunken) with pipe exposure to accent.  No need to hide the angular beauty and smooth lines of pipe.  The focus is about the materials incorporated to solicit a tactile sensation.  Minimalist presence helps clear the mind and create an atmosphere of tranquility.  Wood and colorful wallpaper are ways to diversify texture and dimension.

modern bathroom 2

These matching fixtures are offset by the brightly colored, tiled walls contrasted against the charcoal accents and well-placed lighting.  Light is used in this bathroom to create density of dimension.

modern bathroom 3

2012 modern design trends are predicted to have a lot of pure white rooms.  Though this bathroom provides the designer with a lot of space to work with, modern themes allow and even encourage the use of center stage rather than corner and wall hugging facilities.  The opaque use of white space delivers an environment of peace without distractions or darkness.

modern bathroom 4

Built in ledges for artistic space and sharp angles can be a dramatic but functional expression of design in modern bathrooms.  Eliminate wall art and shelving in favor of a complete room motif that draws the eye to the floor to ceiling ambiance of the room.  Using houseplants will also bring a serenity and healthy cleansing atmosphere to the bathroom.

Ultra modern bathroom vanities incorporated into your new house plans will update your home drastically.  A total lack of clutter, angular lines, strong materials and lots of light are the hallmarks of modern bathroom design.

Lisa writes about interior design trends and Austin homes for sale.

How To Bargain Shop For Luxurious Home Furnishings

Eames Chair

The cost of luxurious home furnishings can be expensive, and sometimes, down-right outrageous.  The problem is, you really want that couch or those paintings and lamps to accent your current living room.  The question is, how do you get them without blowing your budget out of the wallet, or landing yourself in debt?  Simply follow these great tips on how to bargain shop for luxurious home furnishings and you will be able to purchase the home furnishings of your dreams, while still staying within your budget.

#1 – Check Out Offers Online

Many luxurious home furnishing stores offer discounts for purchasing online or special offers that are only available online.  However, choosing home furnishings can be difficult just by looking at them.  In some cases, you want to feel the fabric, or see the colors with your own eyes.  To solve this problem, you can check out the store, if possible, and then purchase the items online to receive the bargains for luxurious home furnishings.

#2 – Sign Up For E-Newsletters

Most companies will offer you a free subscription to their email version of their newsletter.  This will give you advanced insight of upcoming specials, promotions and bargains on luxurious home furnishings.  In particular, keep your eyes open for after holiday sales, semi-annual sales and early bird sales, all of which will offer great bargains for the luxurious home furnishings you dream of.

#3 – After Holiday Sales

As with most department stores, the sales after the holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, are often better than during the holidays.  You can find bargains on luxurious home furnishings by shopping after the holidays at some of the more expensive home stores.  In many situations, companies stock up prior to the holidays and now need to get rid of the extra stock in order to make room for items just coming out.

#4 – Attend Semi-Annual Sales

There are several luxurious home furnishing companies that will over special sales throughout the year, known as semi-annual sales, where their prices are lower than the rest of the year.  Again, similar to after holiday sales, companies hold semi-annual sales to reduce their stock on last season’s items, which although are still in style, they need room for this season’s items.

#5 – Early Bird Sales

Watch for early bird sales, where you need to be there earlier than normal store hours to receive bargains on luxurious home furnishings.  Stores provide these types of sales to have more customers in the store at a particular time.  So remember, with early bird sales, the store may be a little more crowded, but you can still find terrific bargains on luxurious home furnishings.

#6 – Last Season’s Furnishings

As with anything else, what was on-trend last year will be different this year.  However, you can still find some great pieces of furniture and home décor items from last season that are often sold for reduced prices to make room for this season’s new items.  Remember, purchasing a couch from last season does not make it outdated – it is just not the newest item on the market.

Josh Thompson is a popular guest blogger for a handful of frugality, family, and interior design blogs. He also works with the new community purchasing site for luxury furniture, LuxeYard.