Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Carpeting Tips for Small Spaces

(NC)-Creating the illusion of a larger area begins with just a few simple tips for anyone challenged with decorating a small space, and wall-to-wall carpet offers the perfect design medium to achieve your goal.

When decorating any space, large or small, start with the floor. To enhance a smaller space choose carpet in a solid colour and smaller pattern. Refined textured loops or subtle cut-and-loop patterned carpet styles are in the popular interior design spotlight today. Especially for a small room, textured carpet provides the illusion of depth and volume. Selecting a carpet in a neutral colour stretches the space. A carpet colour similar to the colour of the walls will help to create the impression of more space. And in the latest carpet styles, "neutral" is far more interesting than yesterday's plain and safe beige. The sophisticated "new neutrals" cover an exceptional range from creamy whites and soothing taupes to warm sand to dove greys and tinted pastels. Not only are there more choices in carpet colours, the style choices are tailored to fit your lifestyle with a vast array of designs in casual, classic or contemporary d├ęcor styles.

If you are decorating an open-concept area, a smaller home or modern condo, try to avoid distinct breaks between rooms and keep the floor coverings in a similar colour. By keeping the background of your room or home in a neutral palette, you will have optimum flexibility in your selection of furniture and accessories to add colour and texture without minimizing the illusion of space.

You may change your paint and furnishings over the years but your floor covering is a longer-term investment decision. Today's carpet texture, pattern and colour choices are virtually endless. The carpet you select is an important design element, the foundation to your decor and will set the tone for the entire room.

Monday, October 27, 2008

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Make Small Rooms Feel Bigger!

Decorating small rooms can be quite a challenge, but there are some simple things you can do in a weekend to make the space seem to expand before your eyes!

1. Go buy the largest mirror you can afford, and place it in a focal area of the room, such as over a mantel, or over a sofa. Hang it a little higher than eye level to avoid reflecting clutter if necessary. If you can't afford a large mirror, drop by your discount store and dollar shop and pick up a few smaller ones to create a grouping of mirrors to accomplish the same purpose. I have decorative mirrors in almost every room of my modestly sized home, and when I take them down to paint or clean, I am shocked at how much more closed in the room feels. One mirror adds several visual feet to any room!

2. Don't leave your walls white! I know, that's not what you've always heard. White walls can be difficult to pull off in an interesting way, and they don't expand a room any more than light colors do, so add some personality! Paint your walls a light cool color, such as blue or green. Cool colors fool the eye into thinking the walls are farther away than they really are, while warm colors make walls seem closer. (Most whites used in homes are warm whites.) So bring in that pale blue or green!

3. Change your furniture arrangement. I don't believe there is any one formula that works for every room...some rooms will seem larger with the furniture against the walls, and some will seem large if you float the furniture out into the room. Experiment! If you don't want to spend a whole afternoon rearranging furniture (I know a good chiropractor!) then use graph paper to do it. Assign each square of the paper to 1 square foot. Draw in walls, traffic patterns, and other obstacle such as doors. Then cut out small pieces the size of each piece of furniture. Now you can use your furniture templates to move your furniture around on paper, to find the perfect fit for you, before you move a stick! Keep in mind, you still may want to make a change or two after you get it all into actual place. That's ok, us decorators change our minds too!

4. Remove all accessories that break up the space. This is the case where less is more. If two patterned pillows add the pizzazz you need, then don't add four. Use larger scale accessories instead of many smaller ones. And get rid of clutter! We tend to stop seeing the pile of magazines because we are used to them, try to look at the room with an objective eye. If your kitchen is small, don't store things on the counter, put them behind cupboard doors. Kids toys? Find inexpensive bins that can slide under the end tables, then cover with table cloths. If you don't love it or need it, get rid of it! (Don't keep an accessory out just because it fills space!)

5. This is the most underutilized tip for small rooms of all, but also one of the easiest! Keep all your windows and reflective surfaces sparkling clean! Don't believe me? Try it now, go clean that sliding glass door, then stand back. Looks bigger, doesn't it! Now do the same for the rest of the windows, tv screens, dishwasher fronts, glass over artwork and glass tabletops. The shiny clean surfaces both reflect light (which always brightens and enlarges a room) and creates a smooth surface for your eye to glide over, creating the illusion of more space! It works!

Five easy ways to enlarge the look of any room, and you can do it in an afternoon or a weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tips For Decorating Your Living Room on a Budget

In most homes, the living room is the place where most of the action happens. This is where you spend time together as a family and entertain your friends. Apart from the bed room, your living room is where you spend the maximum time in your house. It is no wonder then, that all of us want our living rooms to look good and be comfortable. However, with constant wear and tear, our living room starts looking drab, old fashioned and mostly in need of a change for the better. Unfortunately, redecorating even a single room in the house can prove to be extremely costly, and a situation involving redecorating your living room is no different. However, with our tips on redoing your living room, you can easily and quickly freshen up your living room’s decor without spending a huge packet.

Bring Out The Colors: Changing the color scheme of a room is an easy and inexpensive method of redecorating it. Choose a color scheme that is different from what your living room was sporting earlier. In order to give your living room paint a professional feel, mix and match two or three colors, paint one wall a different color or use dark colors for accenting certain portions of the room.

Go Green: Bringing in plants into your living room adds both color and life to the room. Adding greens to a room always makes it look classy and cool. Buy a couple of potted plants and arrange them in a corner of the living room where there is some light. You can also keep your plants in a dark corner and hang a lamp on top. This will not only make sure that your plants live; it will also result in a beautiful corner arrangement.

Add Space: If you wish your living room was larger than what it currently is, but can do nothing much about it, then putting up a couple of mirrors on the wall is the next best thing to breaking down walls. Mirrors add an illusion of added space, and if you do it correctly, you might just end fooling yourself about the actual size of your living room.

Cover Your Floors: Changing your dull or drab floor tiles or carpeting is an extremely expensive move. If you are fed up with your old floor, then buying carpets and multi colored rugs and placing them strategically across your living room will give your living room floor a new lease of life and color at a minimal cost. You can choose from a wide range of floor coverings depending on your budget and the theme of your living room.

Create Your Own Art: One of the cheapest methods of decorating your room is by using art work and decorative pieces that you have created yourself. Even if you are not very artistic, you can easily put together a collage of pictures, leaves or dry flowers that will look appealing once it is framed. You can also frame interesting pieces of fabrics or cushion covers to create a tapestry like wall hanging.

Add To Your Upholstery: While changing all the furniture in your living room, sofas, settees and chairs can be very costly, you can easily get the upholstery changed for a fraction of the price, and your sofas will once again start looking new. If you cannot find someone to do this for you, then you can shop around for throws, shawls and new cushion covers to give your seating space a new look for less.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How to Contemporize Your Living Room

If you’re looking to redecorate your living room by adding a contemporary and timeless look, consider adding new pieces of furniture. Easier than looking for new housing, redecorating can be a fun and worthwhile project that gives you a chance to change the look of your home. I’m not going to lie, shopping for the perfect furniture pieces can be a time consuming task, but it can be a lot of fun. There are plenty of furnishing options out there that will give your home a refreshing, contemporary feel without you having to go toward the modern sterilization route. In this three-part series, I’ll introduce you to the beauty that is contemporary furniture for your living room, dining room and bedroom.

Let’s start with the main room of your home, the living room. Living room furniture is supposed to illustrate a welcoming look for both you and your guests. Since we’re looking to add a modern dash of style to your home, it’s best to opt for something comfortable, simple, and a bit of color wouldn’t hurt. Couches like the ones from the Shelby Collection found on Eco-Furniture.com offer wide, soft box cushions and defining style that easily fits well in any home. And if you can afford it, it’s not a bad idea to purchase matching love seats and ottomans. Unless you’re an advanced level interior decorator who knows how to mix and match furniture pieces for an eclectic look, it’s probably best for you to stick with matching pieces and case goods.

Living room accessories like coffee tables, end tables and consoles will add to the new look of your home. If it’s a clean look that you desire, you simply can’t go wrong with dark wood. Dark wood or stained wood furniture has been a popular trend in the furniture market over the past few years. TheSoho Black Ash Living Room Collection, which can also be found on Eco-Furniture.com, is an excellent example of this beautiful trend. Creating an avant-garde look that won’t go out of style anytime soon, dark wood can be tricky but sophisticated feature for your home. Best kept for a few key furniture pieces like coffee tables, dining tables and dining chairs, too much dark wood can give your home a darkened appearance. With that said, it’s a good idea to limit just how much dark wood you want in your home.

Another solution you may want to consider when investing in a deep hue furniture item is finding one that’s been paired with glass. Glass adds an elegant aesthetic to just about anything, and pairing it with wood gives it an ethereal look, considering that wood is a very solid element.

Remember, just because it’s contemporary doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be minimal in style. Modern furniture doesn’t have to be intimidating; it can be just as welcoming as your mom’s old matronly, yet comfy couch. In our next installment, we’ll go ahead and talk about creating a contemporary flair to your dining room.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Design Tips For Decorating A Small Living Room

See how easy it is to get big style in small spaces with these decorating tips for small living rooms.

For gathering and entertaining, your living room is important, so you want to be sure it has a great interior design. But what should you do if the space is very small? Fortunately,decorating a small living room can be easy with the interesting room design ideas practiced today.

First, you must stick to an which you like but which will also suit a cozy area. One significant feature to avoid with small living rooms is clutter because it has a proclivity to make the room look significantly smaller.

Maximizing the area in your living room is key so take this into account when thinking about your design theme. A modernized design could be ideal, as this tends to enhance space and living area, instead of many items battling to occupy the same space. Take care to pick an interior decorating scheme you love since this is going to be where you spend the majority of your time.

One key piece of making your living room feel bigger is the color palette. Usuallu people are under the impression that that you ought to just use light paint colores in small rooms, but usually there is actually more to it than that. If you prefer bright or deep colors in your living room you can have it without making the room look small if you decorate with a monochromatic decorating theme, or one where the colors are of an equal brightness. For a scheme that is more colorful try blues and greens that all reflect an equal intensity or to achieve a calm and peaceful style pick a monochromatic color scheme of moss greens. If you'd like to allow for the illusion of depth paint the wall opposite the entry a deep, intense color. For wall paint colors, pale tones like gray-blue will create an overall larger look as they make the walls appear to recede. If you fancy something a lot of interesting, cool colors including blue, purple and green will have the same effect.

Don't forget when you are decorating a small living room to research where you are putting the furniture and accessories. While lots of people dismiss the qualities of Feng Shui, the ideas behind it could still be practiced when arranging the accessories and furniture in your living room. Be positive your furniture is not set close to the doors since this can truly open up the space. This should also help set off a larger piece of furniture such as an entertainment which can help the room look bigger.

When it comes to filling the room with furniture, stick to small or medium sized pieces. Using a love seat, in lieu of a large sofa, can make a lot of difference in space, but still allow guests to be comfortably seated. It makes sense to add appealing charm to your living room by mixing in a bit of larger scaled items, so why not use the small sofa but also use a large mirror or art piece, it is able to also add atmosphere to the room.

These philosophies could help you in your interior design adventure while decorating a small living room. Purely because your living room is less spacious doesn't mean it can't have the same top notch design style you see in big designer homes - it basically takes a bit of unique creativity.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Patio Furniture - Coordinating Cushions, Chairs, And Canopies

Patio furniture is often the 'afterthought' in a patio design. Ideally, however, your design plans should incorporate basic ideas about patio furniture. A well-coordinated look is possible only if the patio itself, the patio awning or canopy, and the patio furniture complement one another.

You have a diverse range of choices available. One of the most popular is cast aluminum patio furniture. As long as you steer clear of tubular framing, these furniture pieces are extremely functional on a patio. In spite of being fairly lightweight and easy to move about, solid cast aluminum chairs are sturdy enough to withstand the wind and weather to a large extent.

In contrast to wrought iron sets, cast aluminum patio furniture won't rust. It is preferable to buy furniture with welded joints. If bolts are used, they should be stainless steel or aluminum. A solidly crafted aluminum chair, that is powder coated, will withstand years of weather extremes, and family fun.

Just make sure that you follow the maintenance instructions to the letter, or you may find that you have voided your warranty! Usually all your aluminum patio furniture asks for, is to be spruced up with a bit of water, to which a gentle detergent has been added. This if often followed by a light coating of car wax as a sealant.

The Telescope Sling Collection is an example of aluminum patio furniture, with styles to suit any patio design.

Wood patio furniture is a popular choice, because of the warm atmosphere it creates. Western Red Cedar is frequently used, because of its well-known weatherproof properties. As the wood isn't prone to warping or cracking, it is highly usable outdoors.

Cedar is oil-rich, an important factor as far as wood preservation is concerned. It also has an inbuilt insect repellant! A Cedar set has a richness, which can be further enhanced with your choice of fabric for the patio furniture cushions.

Another category you may consider, is plastic and resin patio furniture, such as the Kettler Outdoor Furniture range. A wide variety of chairs, chaise lounge designs, and tables are available. Resin patio furniture is superbly suitable for outdoor use, because of its weather-resistant characteristics.

Resin has the ability to go with the flow, so to speak. It expands and contracts with changing weather conditions, and doesn't fade. The Kettler range of patio furniture use a double-injection molding process, which adds to its quality and explains why these pieces have such a long life.

If your patio design guides you to choose a Sunbrella Awning, you have the perfect partner for your patio furniture, as discussed at Awnings-and-Blinds.com. Sunbrella fabrics are well-tested for outdoor use. Creating a perfectly coordinated look is painless, with such a classy range to choose from.

Your patio furniture cushions, decked in Sunbrella's fashionable fabrics, will be unlikely to fade or stain. Your patio is there to add to your quality of life, and to facilitate effortless entertaining. Every aspect of it should therefore be easy to maintain. By choosing Sunbrella fabrics, you choose carefree patio living.

Your extra living 'room', has to be comfortable and relaxing. Your choice of patio furniture is important enough to justify careful deliberation!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Traditional Interior Design

Traditional interior design encompasses a great variety of elements in a home. From the ceilings to the floor; including the trim, the wall finishes–all the way to the window treatments and the furniture. The careful designer must focus attention on each of these items in order to create the ideal design. Lighting, wall treatments, flooring, and furniture are all fundamental steps in creating a smooth design. Each of these elements should tie in carefully with the last, creating an interchanging staircase of design. Theme, color, texture, and placement are the tools with which you are to design this delicate stairway.

Themes of traditional interior design vary from traditional to modernistic, from eclectic to yes–even retro. The decision of theme should (in my opinion) be left entirely up to the individual homeowner or business owner. Each person has a message they would like to convey to the world through their space. It is your job, as the designer, to listen to their wants and needs and to develop a solution that suits them perfectly. If the client is having difficulty in assessing his or her design needs, provide them catalogs or magazines to browse through. Traditional interior design is a concept that is simple and everyone should be able to understand. After browsing through magazines and determining what appeals to them visually, it would be a good idea to ask them about their lifestyle needs. Most clients with children will definitely need to keep the cost modest of their furniture. If the person is active socially and plans on entertaining, you will want to be sure to organize any recreational spaces in a way that is ideal for that type of entertaining.

Once the basic theme has been decided upon, the next major set of choices will be what colors to base those themes on. I always advise clients that it is better to fit the color with the space then the person in this situation. Does that sound unfair? Many clients will associate their first color selection with their favorite color. A favorite color and wall paint sometimes don’t mix very well. Traditional interior design motivates the color choices more towards colors that match the room’s needs. This is so because very often you will find that even if a client is less then enthusiastic about the color selection, after the room has been painted and they have had the chance to see it, they change their minds quickly. Try to offer this type of solution to your client in an encouraging, helpful way rather then with a know-it-all attitude. If they are still not very enthusiastic, try to show them pictures of similar colors in catalogs to give them a better feel of how it will look. Catalogs and magazines are an endless resource for things like this because it offers people a little insight into how designs play out.

All right, you have a theme in mind and a palette of colors to work from. What’s next in traditional interior design? It honestly depends on the magnitude and scope of the project. Choose your wall treatments and get those out of the way if you intend on making any flooring changes. Don’t become hasty and have new flooring installed or the existing flooring refurnished only to paint over the top of it while applying your wall treatment. Once the walls have been complete and allowed time to properly dry, then is the time to make flooring changes.

Flooring! Traditional interior design offers so many choices for all types of flooring; it is best to base this choice upon the needs and lifestyle of your clients. If they have children, suggest that easily washable, flat surfaced flooring is used with the compliment of a large rug in any recreational rooms. These rooms will be the rooms that are mostly used the most often and are danger areas for anyone with kids or children. Explain to them that the rug is easily replaced but carpeting is not!!!

When the ‘canvas’ is ready (the bare bones of the room), it is time for you to treat any windows before you begin moving furniture in and things get crowded. For small rooms, open them up by adding more light using sheer window coverings. The same idea with dark rooms that need a little extra light. Make ‘short’ rooms tall using window-to-floor curtains or draperies in contrast to short furniture. Traditional interior design includes MANY alternatives to window covering that will fit any home. Keep in mind while doing this the activity on the outside of the window as much as you to the appearance on the inside of it. If it is a very open window and the setting of the home does not offer much privacy, they will probably want privacy window coverings. After your windows are complete, hang any wall accessories before proceeding to the next step.

Time to bring in the furniture! A few key rules to remember while positioning furniture in traditional interior design: first, create lines and continuity. Second, be sure to create adequate walking space. Third, don’t over clutter. And fourth, be creative.

Once your furniture is in place and has been ‘tested’, time to accessorize. Traditional interior design normally does this by placing a few instrumental accessories into place. Simplicity is elegant and too much accessories can lead to an uncomfortable room. Try to purchase well-defined items that can even make great conversational pieces. If the homeowners are hands-on and involved, get them to add personal touches by creating an accessory themselves.

Traditional interior design is a catch-all that incorporates the workability and usability with the beauty of a room. Achieve the perfect balance by properly combining these items and you will be successful!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interior Design for Children

Interior design for children is one of the most fun, delightful aspects of the business if you ask me. It is so fun because children are limitless as far as their creativity and imaginations are concerned. Whenever planning interior design for children, be sure to involve the children in the planning and-if you feel very brave, the implementation of your designs.

A good beginning point or theme for interior design for children is to start with any favorite activity or toy or even character of the child’s interest. Remember that many items of interest to children are topics that will change with time so try to take advantage of these interests and favorites with accessories and changes that will be easy to replace in the future as their interests and needs change. If a child has an interest or a particular activity that they are very enthused about and they have a special request that would make the design very special to them, go for it as long as the parents are as enthusiastic as the child is. Also, forewarn them of any possible headaches they might experience changing it in the future when it comes time to redesign the space in order to accommodate the child’s changing needs.

When choosing your color plan or schemes remember that interior design for children offers you unique opportunities to use bold or bright colors that would usually not be ideal for use in adult surroundings. Along the same lines, certain areas of the room would be more ergonomic to use as focal points then would in an adult’s atmosphere. For example, a chalkboard or toy box might capture a child’s attention more so then would a table or seating arrangement.

Another aspect of design that will vary from adult tastes when planning interior design for children would be the accessories that will be used to highlight and accentuate key features. Toys and collectibles make wonderful objects to use in this application. However, many times toys that are placed on display or for decoration are toys that the child would enjoy much more by being able to play with it rather then it actually being on display. You can solve this dilemma by either using old, unused toys that no longer captivate the child’s interests or even by purchasing duplicates and allowing them to actually use one version of the toy and letting them know that the others are ‘for looking only’. Also, keep in mind that collectibles often times are of less significance to smaller children then are to adults so make sure that any item placed in a child’s room is not of significant fiscal or sentimental value just in case!

Tying in interior design for children can be accomplished easily by purchasing one of millions of available bed treatments that is complimentary to the designs and themes used in the creation of the room layout as well as fitting in well with the accessories chosen. Many bed treatment packages come prepackaged with matching detailed sheets, a comforter, dust ruffle, and window coverings. These items can bring a room together in the greatest of all fashions and are an option in interior design for children that are obtainable by anyone looking to make a change.

Always remember when planning interior design for children that a child changes attitudes, opinions, and behaviors around every three years. Permanent changes of any type are a big no-no and practical, cost effective ones are ideal. A good furniture tip to remember when designing for kids is to buy reasonably priced, sound furniture that doesn’t break the bank. Kids are even harder on furniture then they are on clothes! And most importantly to take into consideration when working with interior design for children–of course, HAVE FUN!!!