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Archive for the ‘Home Decor and Design Ideas’ Category

Looking for a Fresh Way to Accessorize Your Backyard? Try an Outdoor Bar!

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The warm weather is approaching, and the time to spend outdoors with friends and family will soon be upon us. Ah yes, it’ll soon be time for you take out the BBQ, patio furniture and gardening tools to create the perfect background atmosphere for your family and close friends.

If you’re looking for a different, trendy background accessory this new season, why not consider getting an outdoor bar. Nothing quite says ultimate luxury like having your own personal backyard bar, not to mention the convenience of entertaining guests. Having an outside bar makes it easier to host, even if you’re serving something as simple as lemonade.

Surprisingly, there are durable stools, such has Howard Miller bar stools, that are available specifically to surpass Mother Nature’s hardships. Weather proof, modern, bar stools can add a whole new contemporary look to your backyard and give it that tropical, relaxing, resort environment that puts everyone in awe. If you have a pool, even better! Your bar can overlook your whole yard and the crystal blue water for a great view. Your bar stool can also be used as a spot to watch over your kids as they swim.

You can get outdoor bar stools that match your current patio furniture or go with neutral, all black bar stools that match everything. If unsure of what color to get, you can always rely on black, especially when it comes to outside messes and spillage that can happen to your furniture. Nevertheless, a bar is the perfect piece for getting the most out of the great outdoors.

 

Outdoor Great Room Company Woven Resin Wicker Swivel Bar stool (Set of 2)

Outdoor Great Room Company Woven Resin Wicker Swivel Bar Stool Set of 2

Planning a Games Room

Friday, March 18th, 2011

A games room isn’t just a place to play games; it’s where family and friends can unwind after a stressful week and spend some quality time together. It’s a place where a younger sibling finds out who’s the real champ. It’s a place where memories are made. It’s important to have somewhere in your home that is solely dedicated to having fun. But how do you go about planning a games room in such a way that it will be functional, practical and stylish? It’s not hard. In this 3-part series, we will discuss how you can design a games room that will be a gathering place for both your friends and your kids’ friends that everyone will want to brag about.

game table and chairs

Step 1 – Purpose

Decide what the main purpose of the room is going to be. Is the room going to be used for one type of game, such as pool, foosball, shuffleboard or poker? Or do you want a space that, while the billiards table will be the centerpiece of the room, you would like to include a darts board and someplace to play chess for those that don’t?

Step 2 – Space & Location

Roughly determine how much space you will need and where the games room is to be located. A pool table or billiards table is going to take up more room than an arcade cabinet. It’s not just size and dimensions you have to worry about; don’t forget to make allowances for people playing the games and moving around the room. Before ordering the pool table of your dreams (and any other large pieces of furniture you plan buying for your game room), make sure that it will fit through doorways and be able to maneuver down or up stairs.

Step 3 – Game Room Furniture

Would you like to include a home bar, someplace for spectators to sit while they watch the players or a video games area complete with game chairs and an entertainment center? Make a list of all the furniture pieces you would like in the room. Some popular game room furniture pieces are:

  • Pool table
  • Arcade games
  • Dart board
  • Foosball table
  • Poker table
  • Home bar – including a pub table, bar stools and/or spectator stools

foosball table pool table

Step 4 – It’s all about the Money

Make a budget. Knowing how much you have and/or are prepared to spend will help you focus on priorities. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have everything on your games room furniture list, but it might inspire you to look for bargains in order to tailor what you want to what you have to spend.

Step 5 – Should You or Shouldn’t You?

DIY or should you hire someone to do the work for you? If you want the trendy pendant ceiling light with stained glass shade to be perfectly centered over your pool table but you’re not quite sure how to do that, then it’s best to plan on hiring someone who does. Ditto for plumbing your home bar sink or mounting your flat screen TV complete with sound system. Do the walls have to be insulated or the floor reinforced to bear the weight of the pool table? Include the expense of a contractor or trades person in your budget.

home bar

A games room is a multifunctional space that will prove hours of fun and quality time, if it is designed with a little something for everyone in mind. Come back next Friday for Designing a Games Room pt. 2.

Encourage Your Teen to go Coastal

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Because it conjures up soft ocean breezes, tranquil summer days spent by the lake or the scent of tropical flowers on a Pacific island, coastal style is an ideal choice when decorating a teen girl’s room. A coastal theme will allow you both to be as creative as you like, offering a wide range of hues for the wall color, bedding, accessories and even the bedroom furniture itself. With such an eclectic style like coastal, the ideas are endless and the color palette you choose can be as bright and bold or soothing and tranquil as the mood takes you.

Youth Panel Bed

Coastal Style Colors

Colors for a coastal style teen girl’s bedroom can be bold or pastel simply because the palette takes its cue from a particular coast or region – a Caribbean coast is bluer and brighter than the coastline of the eastern States, which is readily identifiable by soft grays reflecting the drifting fogs or fine sea mists common to the area.

full panel bed

Coastal Style Furniture

Coastal style furniture is designed to capture the spirit of a summer holiday spent by a lake; an escape to a tropical island or a winter seaside getaway. Coastal style youth bedroom furniture possesses a laid-back feel that is casual yet sophisticated – perfect for a teen girl. When looking for a bed for your teen’s coastal bedroom, choose one that includes bead board panels or louvered accents. Coastal has become such a popular interior design style that manufacturers like Lea and Young America offer bunk beds that display charming decorative details such as bead board, molding, bun feet and scalloped aprons typical of coastal style furniture. You will want to look for similar accents in case goods like an armoire, dresser or chest of drawers.

full over full bunk bed

Coastal Style Bedroom Finishing Touches

Accessories for a coastal style teen bedroom should be warm, comfortable and inviting. Try to include organic elements like wicker baskets or a rattan hamper. Add touches like a shell-base table lamp, shell motif wall sconces or oceanscape prints.

Select nautical striped or botanical patterned fabrics for window treatments, area rugs and/bedding. Anything water-related such surf-themed bedding, sail boats, sea creatures, etc.

Look for collectibles like starfish, shells or hurricane lamps. Hanging objects like oars or a lifesaver make great wall art.

full poster bed

Go Navy Blue for a Boy’s Bedroom

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Whether you’re transforming the ex-nursery into a “big” boy’s bedroom or redecorating because it’s just time for a new look, consider the color navy blue. While it is of course a color, it often functions much like a neutral shade such as black or beige. Navy blue can be layered throughout the room in a number of inventive ways, through the use of actual navy blue bedroom furniture, bedding and accessories, including wall art and area rugs. You can use navy blue “straight up” or mix-and-match with white and red for a truly classic look that might even last until he’s off to college.

youth bed

Pick a Theme

Especially if you’re upgrading from nursery space to a first “real” bedroom, pick a theme. This is an easy way to start decorating, because it will help you focus on a particular topic, hobby or interest that will inspire your son. As well, everything you select for his room will be related to this theme, resulting in a room that has cohesive, finished look.

youth bedroom set

Pick Where the Navy Blue Will Go

You will probably not want navy blue both on the walls and as the color of the bedroom furniture. A classic choice is to paint the walls navy, providing a rich backdrop for a light colored bed. But there is something to be said for a bedroom set that isn’t a typical dark wood finish or one that is black.

L-shaped bunk bed

Pick the Accessories

Have fun accessorizing your son’s room, especially if he is able to contribute ideas or “help” you with some final decisions. A table lamp with a red or green base and/or shade will add a punch of color to the navy blue already in the room. If you are accessorizing a bedroom with a bunk bed in it, an easy way to define each boy’s “territory” is to choose complementing bedding sets as opposed to matching ones. Don’t forget the floor, even if you already have carpet – area rugs in primary colors will introduce a light-hearted element into the room’s décor. Adding window treatments, wall art and themed bedding will give your boy’s navy blue bedroom a classic look that everyone can enjoy.

twin over full bunk bed

Things to Remember when Decorating a Small Room

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

One of the biggest decorating challenges has to be a small room. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny bathroom, a short, narrow hallway or small living room or bedroom. While for many of us, the instinct is to make a small space appear larger, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way – the main objective for small room design is to translate cluttered or cramped into cozy. There are many tips and tricks that you can implement to help you get the look you want while creating a comfortable space to be in, no matter the size of the room.

Think Twice

When decorating a small room, you don’t want a lot of furniture in the room. Select furniture pieces like a bench for a bedroom or a coffee table for a living room that includes hidden storage. Another great example of dual purpose is the sofa bed. Dual purpose furniture is ideal for small spaces; it eliminates the need for additional furniture pieces while maximizing your floor. Because there will be less furniture in the room, you will have the luxury of being able to arrange each piece of furniture so that it can some free space around it.

Think Up

Go vertical rather than horizontal:

  • Use walls to their best advantage; add shelves and small cabinets to the walls rather than the floors
  • Choose vertical furniture pieces like a lingerie chests, bunk beds or armoires that will utilize wall rather than floor space
  • In a kitchen the ceiling can be used for a hanging pot rack or some other type of hanging storage; in a small living room or family room, the wall doesn’t have to be reserved just for shelves – hanging a TV on the wall eliminates the need for a TV stand or an entertainment center

Think Under

While under-bed storage is a common practice in bedrooms, you can apply the same principle to other furniture pieces in your home. Add baskets or cubbies to end tables, a console table in a hallway or sideboard in a dining room.

Think Carefully

Accessorize with care. While we don’t immediately associate personal touches like knickknacks, pictures in frames, candles, etc. with clutter, nothing makes a small room appear cramped faster than a large number of decorative items scattered throughout the space. Have a plan: group four or five objects together in a three or four choice places.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Privacy Fence

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Design Question

We are planning on installing a wooden privacy fence. Our issue – Cypress or Pine? If we go with Cypress then we would stain it. If we go with Pine then we would paint it a deep chocolate brown to match our doors and shutters. The Pine is the option that I am leaning too but have searched for “painted wooden privacy fences” and found none other than white picket fences. We have been riding around neighborhoods for months looking for someone with a painted fence and nobody has one. I don’t care for the stain because in time it has a grey “ugly” look to it. I think the painted would look good and everything would match but why am I the only one thinking this way??? Please help – need your advice.

Design Question

That’s good that you have done your “homework;” you don’t want to do something to your property that is going to strike a jarring note with what is going on in the rest of the neighborhood. By the same token, you don’t want to be the same as everyone else.

I don’t know what type of wood it was, but the backyard fence of the family home I grew up in was chocolate brown. And we were the only ones on our street to have a brown fence; as you mentioned already, the popular color choice for wood fences appears to be white.

I’m sure you have checked it out already, but I do know that some cities have by-laws that dictate how high the fence can be; I’m not aware of any by-laws that state or limit the types of materials used in building and/or painting a privacy fence. If you haven’t already, you might want to check the local by-laws just to see if the fence you are planning to build will meet all pertinent codes.

Some people like that “gray” weathered look cedar attains over time; it’s a matter of personal preference. I say you go with what you like – as long as your privacy fence isn’t breaking any by-laws and looks good to you, I would go with the pine/chocolate brown paint combo.

I hope this has been helpful. Let me know how it turns out. Come back next week when I will answer another one of your design questions. Don’t forget to keep sending them to; just remember to send one per email.

Contemporary Loft Furniture Ideas for the Dining Room

Friday, March 11th, 2011

A loft apartment’s wide-open spaces, high ceilings, large and/or numerous windows, exposed pipes, ducts or beams are very appealing. But these are the very features that can present the loft dweller major decorating challenges when planning a dining room in an open concept living space. Whereas you will most likely want clearly defined areas for sleeping and relaxing while watching television, it makes “sense” for the dining area to flow into the other living spaces in your loft.

Open Concept Dining

A dining room, whether it’s formal or informal, generally has an intimate feel about it because the space has walls; the intimacy factor can be further enhanced by the wall color that is chosen for the dining room. In a loft apartment you will not have those options since your dining set and any other dining furniture you select for the dining area will be out in the open. Here are a few ways to create a cozy atmosphere for a loft dining “room”:

  • Put an area rug on the floor
  • If there is no ambient lighting directly above the dining table, add a pendant or a chandelier that is on a dimmer switch
  • Feature a picture or print, especially if your dining furniture will be opposite a wide expanse of wall, that projects an intimate or cozy ambiance

Contemporary Loft Dining Furniture

The most important aspect about a loft dining area is to choose a dining set that makes a statement. It will be the focal point of the loft space as a whole rather than just the immediate dining area.

You don’t necessarily have to create walls, but if you would like to project a definitive end of the dining zone and the beginning of the next functional space, position a sideboard, buffet or credenza in such a way that it acts as a boundary between the two.

There are no hard and fast rules; there is no reason why you can’t have more than one eating area. While the main dining area can stand in for the formal dining room of a house or condominium, you could place counter stools around a kitchen island or add a gathering table at the opposite end of the loft as a place to have breakfast or a casual meal.

 

Thanks for joining me for this 3-part Contemporary Loft Furniture Ideas series. Come back next week when I will begin a new 3-part discussion on how to design a games room for your family.

Make the “Right” Statement with the Right Hall Table

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Since we just pass through them on our way to somewhere else, sometimes hallways and even the entryways of our homes can end up as dead space simply because we are at a bit of a loss as to how to decorate them. Decorating with hall tables makes perfect sense: hall furniture such as a console table or accent chest is not only practical; they can add functionality and visual interest to an otherwise “empty” space. But it won’t be much of a benefit if you just stick a hall table against a bare wall. When you give some thought to selecting the right hall table, improve the appeal, design and functionality of the space by adding interest, focal points and those personal touches that make your home unique.

Location for your Hall Table

Before selecting a hall table, decide on the location. An accent table for an upstairs hallway across from the master bedroom will serve a different purpose than a console table in the entryway by your front door. Measure the area where you would like it to go; since hall furniture, including hall tables come in a variety of sizes, you will be sure to find one that will fill the space proportionately. If the hall table or accent chest has doors, ensure that there will be enough room to open and close them.

Purpose of your Hall Table

Hall furniture such as accent chests, accent tables and hall tables, doesn’t just serve an esthetic purpose. Are you always loosing your keys? Can you never find your gloves just as you’re about to leave the house? Don’t want to run back upstairs for a scarf? Accent chests and hall tables are available with a number of features that can boost the functionality quotient of the hall or entrance to your home.

A hallway can be “boring.” Create a focal point for a long, narrow hallway with an accent chest; it can make the space visually interesting.

Increase the storage capacity of your front hallway with a console table or accent chest that includes baskets, cubbies or drawers.

In a small entrance way or a narrow hallway, pair a console table with a mirror; the mirror will make the space appear larger than it is.

Accessorizing you Hall Table

Once you have decided on what type of hall table or hall tables will best suit your home, don’t forget to make the most of them. The way you accessorize you hall table, accent chest or console table will definitely add your personality to the room. In an entryway way, nothing says “welcome” like a vase of fresh flowers sitting on your console table. An accent chest in a second storey hallway is a great place to display family photos while a hall table outside of a living room or dining room can be used as a place for an extra lamp.

Stylish Seats for Your Living Room

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Accent chairs aren’t just for sitting. A well-placed accent chair can give a punch of color to a neutral palette living room; lend the room some charm or style; and add texture to the décor, especially if it is upholstered in a different fabric from the rest of the living room furniture. While accent chairs may be used for their good looks, to boost a living room’s functionality quotient they should be comfortable as well.

Accent Chair Style

Stylish seats for the living room don’t have to exactly match the other furnishings. After all, that’s the whole point of accent chairs, to have them stand out rather than blend in. But in order for an accent chair to work with the décor, it should complement the style and mood of the living room. Dramatic, trendy or casual? Since accent chairs are available in a wide range of styles, when selecting one for your living room, focus on the mood you would like to create as well as the chair’s overall appearance.

Accent Chair Material

Stylish seats like accents chairs should look good, but they should be practical too. If there are children in the home, particularly young ones, choose fabrics that are kid-friendly. Even if you don’t have to worry about children, you may prefer enjoying sitting on it rather than cleaning it. To add visual interest to your living room, pick an accent chair that is “textured.” This could mean that it is made from fabric that has a visible weave or one that has a bold or intricate pattern.

Accent Chair Color

Fabrics also contribute to the impact the chair will have in a room. A red leather accent chair or one in a zebra print will provide more “punch” than twill fabric chair in an earth-toned color.

Accent Chair Shape

Accent chairs such as lounge chairs, occasional chairs with no arms or other types of stylish seats can have interesting shapes that will make them a natural focal point of any room they are in.

Accent Chair Placement

The right placement of your accent chair can really make the living room come alive. And speaking of focal points, an accent chair in an unused corner or next to a fireplace is an ideal way to create visual interest. Take a pair of accent chairs and put a small occasional in between, and you have instant conversational grouping that makes your living space warm and inviting.

Bedroom a la Shabby Chic

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

The appeal of shabby chic is its capacity for being both glamorous and comfortable at the same time. This makes shabby chic an ideal design style for the bedroom, because, while you do want a little glamor you want to be comfortable and cozy even more. To create a shabby chic bedroom, don’t be afraid to experiment: mix-and-match bedroom furniture pieces; pile on those pillows in a variety of fabrics; and accessorize to your heart’s content to add texture upon texture – the result will be an enchanting bedroom that will be really welcoming.

Shabby Chic Bedroom Hues

First decide what to do with the walls. A shabby chic palette is soft with a touch of the romantic. Select gentle shades of red, yellow and blue. Keep shades of green pastel and soothing. If you would like to wallpaper either all or one or two of the walls of your bedroom, choose neutral shades with small-sized patterns where lines are curvy as opposed to linear.

If painting isn’t an option, give your bedroom that shabby chic look with one or more of these wall décor ideas:

  • Framed floral or botanical prints
  • Antique frames displaying black and white photographs or sepia prints
  • A shadow or memory box with collectibles like porcelain figurines, dried flowers or other vintage items
  • A vintage or heritage quilt; one made by an ancestor or relative is even better

Shabby Chic Bedroom Furniture

To evoke the spirit of the shabby chic interior design style, mix-and-match bedroom furniture pieces that are made of wood and have a distressed finish with ones that incorporate metalwork or organic accents.

Popular types of inserts for shabby chic bedroom furniture and beadboard and louvered; often headboards or side panels of dressers or nightstands will include beadboard or louvered detailing.

Don’t forget to include bedroom accent furniture pieces like a bedroom vanity, armoire or accent chair.

Shabby Chic Accents

Accessories for a shabby chic style bedroom should have the look and feel of being comfortably vintage. A milk can in the corner of the room can display grasses or twigs. A water jug and matching wash basin would make a good conversation piece sitting on a dresser or tall chest of drawers.

Eyelet cotton or lace is an excellent choice for a pillow or window treatment fabric. Slipcovers are often used to change the look of bedroom vanity or accent chairs according to the season.

Hurricane lamps and railroad lanterns are popular choices for table lamps.

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